Forbes ranks Austin as 5th drunkest city in the US

Zach Lozano

This article was corrected after its original posting. Forbes ranking came out in 2006.

Student life on any college campus can often consist of the occasional sip of alcohol. Recently, Austin was ranked by The Daily Beast as one of the top five drunkest cities in America.

Other cities ranked above Austin are: Charleston, S.C.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Norfolk, Va.; and Boston, Mass. The rankings are based on the average number of alcoholic drinks consumed by adults per month, percentage of population classified as binge drinkers and percentage of population classified as heavy drinkers.

Austin's place has not changed from a 2006 ranking by Forbes that also found it as the fifth drunkest city.

Other cities ranked above Austin on the list were Milwaukee, Wis.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; Columbus, Mo; and Boston, Mass., respectively.  Cities were ranked on the basis of five categories: strictness of state laws, number of drinkers, number of heavy drinkers, number of binge drinkers and rate of alcoholism. 

Cities were ranked on the strictness of state laws based on the “Rating The States” report conducted and written by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The report considered factors such as whether the state has passed laws forbidding open containers in cars or laws regarding the regulation and sale of alcohol.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 1,129 DWI or alcohol related car crashes and injuries in 2011 in Austin.

Statistics regarding the number of drinkers in the various categories were taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey conducted in 2004. According to the survey, adults who reported having had at least one drink of alcohol within the past 30 days were considered drinkers and adults who reported having five or more drinks on one occasion were considered binge drinkers. The number of heavy drinkers was calculated based on the number of adult men who reported having had more than two drinks per day, and adult women having had more than one drink per day.

In determining the rate of alcoholism, Forbes looked at the number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings held in the area as a ratio of the drinking age population.

Anthropology sophomore Samuel Deleon said it has become socially acceptable to drink in college. It is easy to access alcohol, especially with such a large population, Deleon said.

“If you search liquor stores in Austin, 161 store listings will come up,” Deleon said. “So it is easy to find alcohol and easy for older students to access it for younger students.”

Printed on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 as: Sixth Street, fifth place