According to a recent CDC report, more than 38 million US adults binge drink about 4 times a month, and the largest number of drinks per binge is on average 8.
But the shocker is the age group that binge drinks most often: senior citizens 65 years and older. However, the age group with the most binge drinkers are those between 18 and 34.
Among college-age young adults, 28 percent of those ages 18 to 24 said they binged on alcohol four times a month, averaging 9.3 drinks per binge. And more than 90 percent of the alcohol youth drink occurs during binges.
The CDC defines binge drinking as men drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time or women drinking 4 or more drinks within a short period of time.
The income group with most binge drinkers are those that make more than $75,000 a year. The income group that binge drinks the most often and drinks most per binge are those making less than $25,000 a year. In other words, people with less money binge drink the most and drink more when they binge.
An unrelated 2010 study reported 13 percent of older American men and 8 percent of women were at-risk alcohol users, having an average of two or more drinks every day. In the same study, 14 percent of men and three percent of women reported binge drinking, which is defined as five or more drinks consumed at the same occasion in one day.
State to State
Binge drinking varies from state to state, and estimates of adults who binge drink range from 10.9% in Utah to 25.6% in Wisconsin. Binge drinking is most common in the Midwest, New England, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Hawaii.
The average largest number of drinks within a short period of time among binge drinkers ranged from 6 drinks in the District of Columbia to 9 drinks in Wisconsin. The largest number of drinks consumed by binge drinkers is highest in the Midwest and southern Mountain states (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah), and some states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina where binge drinking is less common.
The CDC points out that binge drinking greatly increases the chances of getting hurt or hurting others due to car crashes, violence, and suicide. Binge drinking is a problem in all states, even in states with fewer binge drinkers, because they are binging more often and in larger amounts.