(ABC4) – Utah is known for being one of the most restrictive states about alcohol in the country, and a new report shows a visual representation of why Utahns may not mind.
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute recently released its annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. The report is intended to improve health outcomes and close health disparities by bringing awareness to factors that influence health and offer actions on improving community health.
Within the report, factors are reviewed, categorized, and used to determine length and quality of life on a state-by-state basis. Among those factors is alcohol and drug use, which is determined based on excessive drinking.
Excessive drinking is based on self-reported data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system. For the 2021 report, the University of Wisconsin relied on 2018 data and categorized excessive drinking as five or more drinks per occasion for men, four or more per occasion for women.
A graduate student at the University of Chicago developed the above map based on the county-by-county data showing the percentage of adults reporting binge or heavy drinking. While there are a few white and light blue counties scattered throughout the map, especially among southeastern states, 29 stick out: those in the state of Utah.
With the exception of Summit County, Utah’s counties are white, meaning they have an excessive drinking percentage below 15%. Here is a look at the top five counties based on percentages:
- Summit: 17%
- Morgan: 14%
- Salt Lake: 14%
- Wayne: 14%
- Daggett: 14%
Utah County reported the lowest percentage of excessive drinking at 6%. Four counties — Millard, Sanpete, Cache, and Davis — all came in at 10%.
Overall, the 2021 County Health Rankings reports 11% of Utah adults reported bingeing or heavy drinking. That is well below the national average of 19%.
Utah isn’t the only state that stands out.
Wisconsin, home to a Major League Baseball team that celebrates the state’s beer brewing industry, is the darkest-colored state on the map. All 72 of its counties reported excessive drinking.
Outagamie County, located in northeastern Wisconsin, had the highest percentage of reported excessive drinking at 31% – almost twice the rate of Utah’s highest ranking county. Milwaukee County had Wisconsin’s lowest rate at 23%.
Here are Wisconsin’s top five counties:
- Outagamie: 31%
- Calumet: 30%
- Walworth: 29%
- Pierce: 29%
- Polk: 29%
For more on how states were ranked for excessive drinking and other tracked factors, visit CountyHealthRankings.org.