Which state's residents drink the most?


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New Hampshire residents drink the most of any of other state, and it’s not even close.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a federal organization inside the National Institutes of Health, released its 2014 report on alcohol consumption in the United States.

Findings are based on alcoholic beverage sales data, either collected directly by the Alcohol Epidemiologic Data System  from states or provided by beverage industry sources. Population data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau are used as denominators to calculate per capita rates.

The most recent report looks at data from 1977 when the reports were first produced through 2012, the last year that data was available.

Delaware came in second place, but its residents’ consumption was less than one gallon of alcohol per resident, although there’s a possibility that the numbers – based on alcohol sales data – were slightly off as New Hampshire’s state-owned, tax-free, highway-adjacent liquor stores sell a large amount of alcohol to out-of-staters. This has apparently been a running joke in New England for years.

Utah residents had the lowest consumption.

Some highlights:

  • In the United States, per capita consumption of ethanol from all alcoholic beverages combined in 2012 was 2.33 gallons, representing a 2.2 percent increase from 2.28 gallons in 2011. That equates to 497 five-percent, 12-oz. beers or 98 bottles of 12-percent, 750-ml wine.
  • Between 2011 and 2012, changes in overall per capita consumption of ethanol included increases in 43 states and the District of Columbia and decreases in seven states.
  • Analysis of overall per capita alcohol consumption by census region between 2011 and 2012 indicated an increase of 3.4 percent in the west, 2.3 percent in the south, 2.1 percent in the northeast, and 1.7 percent in the midwest.
  • Healthy People 2020 has set the national objective for per capita alcohol consumption at no more than 2.1 gallons. Per capita consumption would need to decrease by 1.3 percent each year for the next 8 years to achieve this goal.

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New Hampshire, States