And the Drunkest State in the Union Is..

By James Joiner

How much do we drink? Too much as a nation, according to a new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In their annual "Surveillance Report," they break down "apparent" per capita alcohol consumption as well as which types of tipple are trending. Numbers are based on sales figures, and represent ages 14 and up.

Since the NIAAA is most concerned with how much actual alcohol we're consuming, they distill the data to gallons of pure ethanol. Healthy People 2020, a government organization that sets wellness goals for our populace, has declared the "national objective" of no more than 2.1 gallons per person, per year.

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In layman's terms, that's about 25 bottles of whiskey, 88 bottles of wine, or 320 bottles of beer. Actual average American consumption was 2.33 gallons, up just a hair over last year.

According to their study, 43 states increased their inebriation, with the West leading the way by 3.4 percent, followed by 2.3 percent in the South, 2.1 percent in the Northeast, and 1.7 percent in the Midwest. The only states to decrease in drunkenness were Alaska, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.

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The Live Free Or Die state pulled double duty, ironically also coming in with the highest national consumption rate of 4.65 gallons - nearly twice the national average. Maybe we shouldn't have been surprised that brief presidential contender Rick Perry delivered his famous "Drunken Speech" there.

As for drinking trends, well, sorry, Homer Simpson, but your beverage of choice is on the outs. Our taste for beer is waning, with wine and liquor on the come up.

How does your state rank? Here's the list:

1. New Hampshire 4.65

2. Dist. of Columbia 3.89

3. Delaware 3.59

4. North Dakota 3.42

5. Nevada 3.27

6. Wisconsin 3

7. Montana 2.96

8. Vermont 2.92

9. Alaska 2.82

10. Colorado 2.76

11. Idaho 2.76

12. South Dakota 2.76

13. Florida 2.72

14. Rhode Island 2.72

15. Minnesota 2.7

16. Wyoming 2.67

17. Maine 2.65

18. Oregon 2.65

19. Louisiana 2.6

20. Massachusetts 2.57

21. Hawaii 2.54

22. Arizona 2.43

23. Missouri 2.42

24. Connecticut 2.39

25. Iowa 2.39

26. New Jersey 2.39

27. Illinois 2.36

28. New Mexico 2.36

29. California 2.35

30. South Carolina 2.33

31. Nebraska 2.32

32. Michigan 2.29

33. Texas 2.28

34. Pennsylvania 2.26

35. Washington 2.25

36. Maryland 2.21

37. Mississippi 2.2

38. New York 2.17

39. Virginia 2.13

40. North Carolina 2.05

41. Ohio 2.03

42. Alabama 2

43. Tennessee 2

44. Georgia 1.99

45. Indiana 1.97

46. Kansas 1.95

47. Oklahoma 1.94

48. Kentucky 1.87

49. Arkansas 1.81

50. West Virginia 1.81

51. Utah 1.37

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