Mapping the Volume of Non-Drinkers by US City

For most people, drinking is involved in many pastimes from watching sports and attending concerts to painting with friends or hanging out at home. In fact, it’s estimated that 70% of Americans have had an alcoholic drink in the past year, and many in that same demographic have had more.

Drinking seems to be a large part of society because of how widely we see people consuming alcohol throughout our day-to-day lives and in the media. But, even though news headlines frequently discuss the country’s heavy drinking culture, there are still that 30% of people who go against the norm to avoid drinking altogether. There are plenty of non-drinkers throughout the U.S. In light of that, we wanted to see where most of them reside and if there are any state- and region-wide trends to be uncovered among non-drinkers.

Using data from City-Data, we’ll explore the cities with the most (and least) non-drinkers per capita in the US.

Methodology:

We pulled the data on the percentage of non-drinkers in the 100 largest U.S. cities from city-data.com. We combined that with the age 18+ population of each city to calculate the actual volume of non-drinkers.

From this methodology, we were able to find some very interesting insights, which you can read below.

Map - Highest and lowest percentage of non-drinkers

Kicking off our list are the top ten cities that have the highest percentage of non-drinkers. Topping the list by a wide margin is Honolulu, HI with 21.20% of its population opting not to partake in alcoholic beverages. Next on the list is Fremont, CA, Hialeah, FL, San Francisco, CA, and Detroit, MI, with 15.50%, 14.60%, 14.10%, and 13.40%, respectively.

Interestingly, half of the top ten cities with the highest percentage of non-drinkers are in California. Another interesting insight we found from our research was that the majority of the cities on the top ten list are located near beaches and large bodies of water. Maybe, instead of drinking alcohol, the residents of these cities are spending more time around another kind of liquid.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the cities with the lowest percentage of non-drinkers. In first place on the list, with 9.00% even is Gilbert, AZ. Rounding out the top five on this list are Scottsdale, AZ, Boise, ID, Laredo, TX, and Austin, TX, with percentages ranging from 9.10% to 9.40%. One interesting trend we found was that ⅔ of the cities in this data set are located in the southwest. In fact, the majority of the cities on both lists are located in the western region of the country.

Cities with the highest percentage of non-drinkers

Because we found such interesting insights from the top cities with the highest percentage of non-drinkers, we wanted to expand that list of the top 50 cities in the United States. Here, we can see that the region-wide trends we saw in the top ten list above end. One trend we did find was that Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana have more than one city represented on the list. Interestingly, the cities that landed in spots 23 to 50, more than half of the list, all fall within a very small margin of each other, around .80%.

Cities with the lowest percentage of non-drinkers

Since we found the top 50 cities with the highest percentage of non-drinkers, we also had to find the cities with the lowest amount of non-drinkers as well. In this data set, all the cities fall between just 2.00% of each other. And, unlike the cities with the highest percentage of non-drinkers, the cities with the lowest percentage of non-drinkers are in a relatively condensed geographic area consisting of Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and California.

Cities with lowest & highest volumes of non-drinkers

Next, we wanted to turn our attention to the numbers behind the percentages to find where the largest population of non-drinkers reside. Surprisingly, New York City has the highest number of non-drinkers out of the entire country by far with approximately 804,420. The city with the lowest number of non-drinker is Boise, ID with 16,363, which was also a surprise to us.

There is a large percentage of people who don’t drink alcohol in the United States. They live all around the country and live vastly different lives from one another. But, even though there is a large percentage of the population that doesn’t drink, they are still the minority. In the percentage of adults in the US who do partake in drinking, there are people who are dependent on alcohol to get through their daily lives. If you are one of those people, or you know someone who fits that description, we’re here to help. If you need help with alcoholism or alcohol dependency, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today.

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