California Excessive Drinking Statistics

Evaluating the Percentage of Adults Who Report Excessive Drinking in California

According to the United Health Foundation’s annual report on America’s Health Rankings around 19% of adults in California admit to excessive drinking.  The data is compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which defines excessive drinking as the:

“Percentage of adults who reported either binge drinking (having four or more [women] or five or more [men] drinks on one occasion in the past 30 days) or chronic drinking (having eight or more [women] or 15 or more [men] drinks per week).”

California ranks the same as the national excessive drinking average, while Utah was named the healthiest state at 12.2% and Wisconsin was least-healthy state with an excessive drinking rate of 24.2%.  As with the national average, men were more likely to report binge drinking or chronic drinking.  People aged 18-44 ranked the highest among excessive drinkers at 24.8% in California and 25.4% nationally.  The percentage of adults living in California’s rural areas had a significantly higher rate of reported excessive drinking (26%) than their national counterparts (10.4%).

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.” There are a number of short- and long-term risks associated with excessive drinking.  Some of the most serious include making a person more prone to violence and fatal car accidents as well as an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Excessive alcohol consumption is not only dangerous, but it is also costly.  Estimated expense of excessive drinking in the United States in 2010 was $249 billion according to a report published by the CDC.  In California alone, the cost of excessive alcohol use was $35 billion during the same time period.