This California Metro Area Has Been Named the Most Drunk in America


A recent study from 24/7 Wall St., a website that covers financial news and opinion, says that Santa Cruz-Watsonville is the California metro area where most people say they drink too much.

The study used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a program run by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. It ranked the cities in each state by how drunk their residents were.

What Exactly is Excessive Drinking?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines excessive drinking as binge drinking and heavy drinking.

Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks in one sitting for women and five or more for males. Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for males.

How Does Santa Cruz-Watsonville Do in Comparison to Other Metropolitan Areas?

According to the survey, 23.2% of adults in Santa Cruz-Watsonville drink excessively, compared to 18.4% statewide and 19.0% nationally.

This is the highest rate among California’s 26 metro regions. Santa Rosa-Petaluma had the second highest rate, at 22.9%, followed by San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, at 21.8%.

This California Metro Area Has Been Named the Most Drunk in America

In addition, Santa Cruz-Watsonville was placed 29th out of 384 metro areas in the United States for excessive drinking. Appleton, Wisconsin, had the highest percentage of intoxicated people in the US, at 26.8%, followed by Oshkosh-Neenah, Wisconsin, at 26.3%, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, at 26.2%.

What Are the Effects of Drinking Too Much?

People and groups can both suffer from bad health and social effects from drinking too much. The CDC says that drinking too much can make you more likely to get chronic diseases like liver disease, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

It can also make you more likely to have mental health problems like sadness and worry. Also, drinking too much can make it harder to make decisions and make violence, dangerous sexual behavior, alcohol poisoning, and accidents more likely.

A lot of deaths that could have been avoided happen in the U.S. because people drink too much. More than 95,000 deaths happen every year because of drinking too much, according to the CDC. That’s about 261 deaths every day.

Car accidents are one of the most common ways that people die after drinking. In 2018, 10,511 people died in car accidents caused by drunk drivers. That’s 29% of all traffic deaths in the U.S. 29.6% of deadly car crashes in California are caused by alcohol.

What Steps May Be Taken to Decrease Heavy Drinking?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises numerous evidence-based ways to prevent and reduce excessive drinking, including raising alcohol prices, restricting the density of alcohol outlets, enforcing minimum legal drinking age legislation, and screening and treatment for alcohol abuse.

The CDC also recommends that people drink in moderation if they want to drink at all. Up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for males is considered moderate drinking.

Individuals with alcohol issues can also seek professional therapy or join support organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) provides a free online service that assists consumers in locating treatment alternatives near them. On its website, the NIAAA also provides information and tools about alcohol use and its consequences.


With 23.2% of people drinking too much, Santa Cruz–Watsonville is the most excessively drinking metro area in California, higher than both the state and national rates.

Chronic diseases, mental health problems, and crashes are all possible risks of heavy drinking. Over 95,000 people die every year in the U.S. because they drink too much. To stop this, we need to take steps like raising the price of alcohol and strictly following legal drinking age rules.

The CDC and NIAAA both say that getting professional help and following moderation rules can help lessen the bad effects of alcohol drinking.

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