MN has 5th-highest level of binge drinking in US – which county is highest?

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Minnesota has the fifth-highest rate of binge drinking in the United States, a study has found, with North Dakota and Wisconsin home to the nation's biggest drinkers.

A study of alcohol use in adults above the age of 21 was published this week in the American Journal of Public Health, showing binge and heavy drinking is rising across the country – led by an increase among women.

The data breaks it down state-by-state, county-by-county, and found that Menominee County in Wisconsin has the highest levels of binge drinking in the United States, with 36 percent of residents admitting to binging in 2012.

Binging is classed as a woman drinking four and a man five alcoholic drinks on a single occasion at least once in the past month. The study tracked drinking levels between 2002 and 2012, and found that bingeing rose by 8.9 percent nationally since 2005.

Which county in Minnesota has the most binge drinkers?


The highest level of binge drinkers in Minnesota are found in Morrison County, between St. Cloud and Brainerd, which has its administrative center in Little Falls. (In the map above, the darker the red, the more prevalent binge drinking is).

The study found that 30.6 percent of residents admitted to binge drinking, with the number of male binge drinkers rising by 10 percent between 2002 and 2012, and 22.5 percent among women, the St. Cloud Times notes.

Morrison County is followed in binge drinking rates by Wilkin County, on the North Dakotan border (29.1 percent), Red Lake County and Marshall County in northwest Minnesota (28.3 and 28.2 percent respectively) and Winona County in southeast Minnesota (27.3 percent).

The lowest levels of binge drinking are in Kandiyohi County, west-central Minnesota (19.7 percent), and the southwest counties of Pipestone (19.9 percent) and Nobles (20.2 percent).

Minnesota's binge drinking problem

The new American Journal of Public Health study found that Minnesota has a higher-than-average amount of alcohol users, with 66.6 percent of the population having had a drink in the previous month, above the national average of 56 percent. (In the map above, the darker the red, the more prevalent any drinking is).

And it has a higher binge drinking rate as well, with 23.6 percent of residents admitting to binge drinking in the previous month in 2012, higher than the national average of 18.3 percent (see graph at below).

Some 30.2 percent of men in Minnesota admit to binge drinking, while 17.3 percent of women admit the same – the fourth-highest level nationally.

But Minnesota is significantly lower when it comes to heavy and binge drinking compared to North Dakota and Wisconsin, which are first and second with rates of 26.2 and 26.1 percent respectively.

Minnesota's issues with binge drinking are well known, with a study by the Centers for Disease Control finding that the state has one of the highest levels of alcohol poisoning deaths in the country, and the rise in drinking has caused the state to fall down the rankings of the healthiest places in America.

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