Sober findings

Austin among America's booziest cities, says sobering new study

Austin among America's booziest cities, says sobering new study

Group of people drinking beer at a bar cheers
Austin ranks high on a new list of the U.S. cities with the most drinkers. Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

Over the past decade, locals have grown accustomed to seeing Austin nab spots on top 10 lists. In the first half of 2019, the Capital City has been trumpeted as the most wildlife-friendly city in the nation, named among the most hard-working, and continued its winning streak on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Still, the latest ranking is unlikely to make it to a convention and visitors bureau pamphlet. According to a June study released by alcohol abuse resource site Alcohol.org, Austin has the fifth-highest percentage of drinkers in the country.

The rankings, which compared census figures with data culled from public information trove City-Data, actually highlight cities with the highest percentage of non-drinkers. But Austin — and the rest of Texas — failed to crack the top 50 on the non-imbibers list.

Instead, the state nabbed 12 out of the 50 cities with the lowest percent of non-drinkers, led by Laredo at No. 4, Austin at No. 5, and Plano at No. 10.

Although the analysis states that 90.6 percent of Austinites choose to imbibe, it’s important to note that the list does not reveal the volume of drinking in each city. All adults that drink alcohol — from problem drinkers to those who only crack open a bottle on special occasions — were included in the data set. Austin, however, has been consistently named among the booziest American cities in study after study.

One reason why may have something to do with geography. The Alcohol.org analysis noted that the cities with the most teetotalers tended to be clustered around beaches or large bodies of water (Honolulu has the most non-drinkers at 21.20 percent). Conversely, the majority of cities with the least non-drinkers were located on the arid Southwest. Arizona has the most slots on that top 10 list, with Gilbert coming in at No. 1.

Municipalities across the Lone Star State were scattered across the most drinking cities list.

  • Laredo, No. 4
  • Austin, No. 5
  • Plano, No. 10
  • Dallas, No. 14
  • Irving, No. 15
  • El Paso, No. 16
  • San Antonio, No. 22
  • Houston, No. 24
  • Fort Worth, No. 29
  • Corpus Christi, No. 31
  • Garland, No. 35
  • Lubbock, No. 37

Of the state’s 10 most populous cities, only Arlington was not named. Overall, Texas outdrank the nation with the most slots on the list.