Monday, March 21, 2016

Drinkingest Counties

When I get a few free moments I toy around with these health data of all U.S. counties, looking for neat stuff. Here's one of my favorite topics -- drinking -- and in this case the percent in a county who drank to excess (according to health survey data). I ranked the Georgia counties here. So lemme give you the lede right up front -- people in Wisconsin and the North Dakota drink a lot. Why? Because they live in Wisconsin and North Dakota, I suppose. Here are the top counties:

1. Mountrail, N.D.,
2. Outagamie, Wisc.
3. Pierce, Wisc.
4. Portage, Wisc.
5. Winnebago, Wisc.
6. (tie) Cass, N.D., and 3 from Wisc: Grant, Brown, & Washington,
10. (tie) Dodge and St. Croix, Wisc.

You have to go all the way to #22 to get one that isn't Wisconsin or North Dakota, and that's Washington D.C., making us feel all the more comfortable about our federal government. Then we return to the same two states again all the way to Story, Iowa, in a tie for #35 with, yes, counties from Wisconsin.

By the way, Georgia makes an appearance at #40 (Chattahoochee, Georgia). It's the best excessive drinking county in the South. Congrats.

Now for the methodological caveats. The differences between these counties in percent who report excessive drinking can be small, so small that the margin of error makes it hard to truly rank based on these data. In our best boozing county, for example, 27.3 percent of respondents reported drinking to excess. In #2, it's 27.1 percent. By the time you get to #100 out of several thousand counties, it's only 22.7 percent.

But still. Wisconsin.

Least Drinking Counties

I know, you're thinking Utah. And you'd be right. Piute County, Utah, is the winner at #3140. Only 8.4 percent there said they drank to excess. But the other counties might surprise you. Below I rank the Bottom Ten with #1 being the least boozing of the bunch.

1. Piute, Utah
2. Greene, Ala.
3. Haywood, Tenn.
4. Clay, Georgia
5. Utah, Utah (redundant, much?)
6. McDowell, W.V.
7. Humphreys, Miss.
8. Wolfe, Ky.
9. Wilcox, Ala.
10. Jefferson, Miss.

A lot of Deep South above and the same if you track upward in the data. So in other words, the South leads in obesity but trails in drinking. There's a lesson there, somewhere.

Oh, my Clarke County, Georgia, ranks only 1,599th in the U.S. in excessive drinking.

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