I've heard more than one Midwesterner say, when asked how they can stand living in a climate that is so cold for so much of the year: "We drink a lot. Keeps ya warm."

Well, for a throw-away comment like that, it sure holds a lot of truth in some areas of the Midwest (Wisconsin, I'm looking at you).

24/7 Wall Street decided to look into how much people around the U.S. are drinking, and the Midwest more than holds its own against the rest of the nation in a drink-for-drink competition.

Here's what they had to say about Midwestern imbibing:

> Drunkest city: Bloomington, IL
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.5% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.2% (5th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 35.1%

With a 21.5% excessive drinking rate, Bloomington is the heaviest drinking metro area in Illinois. Unhealthy alcohol consumption is more common among better educated populations, and Bloomington is home to a relatively large share of adults with a bachelor’s degree. Some 42.4% of adults in Bloomington have a four year college degree, compared to the statewide college attainment rate of 34.0% and the nationwide rate of 31.3%.

> Drunkest city: Bloomington, IN
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.7% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.8% (17th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 26.2% (bottom 25%)

Colleges students are more likely to drink heavily than nearly any other group. The Bloomington metro area is the home of Indiana University, one of the largest universities in the United States. Nearly 1 in 4 metro area residents are enrolled in college or graduate school, the third highest share in the country, and 19.7% of residents over the age of 18 drink excessively, the largest share of any Indiana metro.

College graduates are also more likely to drink than the average American. Some 38.9% of Bloomington adults have a bachelor’s degree, also the largest share in the state.

> Drunkest city: Green Bay, WI
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 26.5% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.5% (2nd highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 50.5% (top 10%)

Green Bay is the heaviest drinking metro area in both Wisconsin and the United States. Some 26.5% of area adults drink excessively compared to 24.5% of adults in Wisconsin and 18.0% of adults nationwide. Despite widespread alcohol abuse in the metro area, adults in Green Bay report fewer mentally or physically unhealthy days per month on average than is typical nationwide. As is often the case in heavy drinking areas, alcohol impaired driving appears to be a considerable problem in Green Bay. The metro area is one of only five nationwide where more than half of all driving deaths involve alcohol.

> Drunkest city: Iowa City, IA
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 23.1% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.0% (7th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 17.7% (bottom 10%)

Iowa City is the heaviest drinking metro area in a relatively heavy drinking state. Across Iowa, 21.0% of adults drink excessively, a larger share than in all but six other states and well above the U.S. excessive drinking rate of 18.0%. Meanwhile, Iowa City is one of only 13 metro areas nationwide in which more than 23% of adults either binge drink or drink excessively. Like many of the heaviest drinking metro areas, Iowa City is in the Midwest.

> Drunkest city: Lansing-East Lansing, MI
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.9% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.0% (10th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 27.8%

According to a nationwide survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, nearly 3 in 5 college students aged 18 to 22 drink alcohol on a monthly basis. In the Lansing-East Lansing metro area — home to Michigan State University, the largest school in Michigan and the ninth largest in the country — some 14.2% of residents are enrolled in college, more than double the 7.0% share nationwide. An estimated 21.9% of adults in the Lansing-East Lansing metro area drink excessively, more than the comparable 20.0% statewide share and more than any other metro in Michigan.

> Drunkest city: Mankato-North Mankato, MN
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 23.6% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.1% (6th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 18.0% (bottom 10%)

Nearly 24% of adults in the Mankato-North Mankato drink excessively, the largest share of any of any of Minnesota’s five metro areas. Despite ranking as the state’s heaviest drinking metro area, driving deaths attributable to alcohol are relatively uncommon. Only 18% of all roadway fatalities in the metro area involve alcohol, the smallest share of any metro area in Minnesota and well below the comparable 30.9% statewide share.


Click here to read the full piece from 24/7 Wall Street.