Illinois’s Most Drunkest City Has Been Revealed


People in the United States drink a lot, but the amount changes from city to city, with some having higher rates of heavy drinking. Heavy drinking and binge drinking are both examples of excessive drinking. Both can hurt your health, safety, and general well-being.

We look at the 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps data to find out more about the city in Illinois that was named the “drunkest” in the United States. We also look at the reasons that went into this ranking, the effects of drinking too much booze, and the steps that are being taken to fight this problem.

Illinois’s Most Drunk City

In Illinois, the 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps show that Chicago has the biggest number of people who say they drink too much. About 22.7% of people in the city drink too much booze, which is more than the national average of 19.0%.

In addition, Chicago is the fifth “drunkest” city in the United States, after Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Boston, and Buffalo. In Illinois, 23.2% of people in Clinton County say they drink too much alcohol. This makes it the county with the highest rate of heavy drinking.

What Made the Ranking Possible

People in Chicago may drink or not drink depending on a lot of things, such as their social, cultural, economic, and natural surroundings. Some possible reasons for the high rate of heavy drinking in Chicago are:

Access to and availability of booze: There are a lot of bars, restaurants, liquor shops, and other places in Chicago that sell alcohol, making it easy for people to buy and drink. The 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps show that Chicago has 1.3 booze stores for every 10,000 people, which is more than the state average of 0.9.

Social and cultural norms: Chicago’s evening scene is very varied and lively, and drinking is often seen as a way to party, hang out with friends, and have fun. Because of the city’s strong sports culture, drinking is linked to cheering for local teams. Different groups may also have different drinking habits because of Chicago’s past of immigration and racial variety.

Stress and coping mechanisms: People who live in a busy city like Chicago have to deal with a lot of stressful things, like traffic, crime, work, and poverty. Some people use alcohol as a way to deal with their issues or to avoid them, unwind, and rest. The 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps statistics show that Chicago has higher rates of poverty (18.4%) and unemployment (5.8%) than the state means (4.8% and 12.6%, respectively).

The Effects of Excessive Drinking

Excessive drinking has serious and negative repercussions for both people and societies, including:

Health Concerns: It increases the risk of both chronic and acute disorders, including liver disease, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and alcohol poisoning. Excessive drinking can also impair the immune system, leaving people more vulnerable to infections and diseases. According to the 2020 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Chicago has a greater premature mortality rate (8,300 years of potential life lost per 100,000 inhabitants) than the state average (6,900).

Safety Concerns: Excessive drinking weakens judgment, coordination, and response times, which can lead to unsafe actions like drunk driving, aggression, or sexual assault. It also raises the risk of accidents, injuries, and deaths. The 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps data show that Chicago has a higher rate of alcohol-impaired driving deaths (31.9%) than the state average (28.0%).

Social and Economic Costs: Excessive drinking harms people’s quality of life and well-being, leading to difficulties such as marital problems, domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect. It also reduces productivity and performance at work and school, leading to absenteeism, bad grades, and unemployment.

Furthermore, it imposes a financial strain on society by raising the expenditures of healthcare, law enforcement, and social services. According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the economic cost of excessive drinking in Illinois in 2010 was $10.8 billion, or $2.95 per drink.

Initiatives to Address the Issue

Chicago has adopted many initiatives to combat the problem of excessive drinking and promote appropriate alcohol usage, including:

Rules and Regulations: Putting in place and implementing rules and regulations that limit alcohol availability and accessibility, such as increasing alcohol taxes, and prices, and restricting alcohol sales hours and places. This includes tightening down on underage drinking and drunk driving.

Prevention and Treatment Programs: Providing and supporting prevention and treatment programs and services to help people reduce or quit alcohol usage. This involves screening and short interventions, counseling, therapy, medication, detoxification, as well as recovery and support groups.

Public Awareness: Educating and promoting awareness among the general public and stakeholders about the dangers and repercussions of binge drinking, as well as the advantages and techniques for moderate drinking. This is performed through campaigns, media efforts, and community gatherings.

Collaboration entails working with a variety of sectors and organizations affected by alcohol-related concerns, including healthcare, education, law enforcement, companies, and faith-based organizations. These joint efforts seek to create and execute complete, coordinated solutions.


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