Sober findings

Houston among America's booziest cities, sobering new study says

Houston among America's booziest cities, sobering new study says

Group of people drinking beer at a bar cheers
Houston has the one of the country's highest percentage of drinkers. Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

At this point, locals are pretty accustomed to seeing Houston nab top spots on various lists. Not only is it the most diverse city in the country, it's one of the best places to live and start a business, boasts one of the most affordable housing markets for the middle class, and is one of the best summer destinations in the country.

But this new ranking is unlikely to make it to a convention and visitors bureau pamphlet. According to a June study released by alcohol abuse resource site Alcohol.org, Houston has the 24th highest percentage of drinkers in the country.

The rankings, which compared census figures with data culled from public information trove City-Data, actually highlight cities with the highest percentage of non-drinkers. But Houston — and the rest of Texas — failed to crack the top 50 on the list of non-imbibers.

Instead, the state nabbed 12 out of the 50 cities with the lowest percent of non-drinkers, led by Laredo at No. 4, Austin at No. 5, and Plano at No. 10.

According to the study, only 10.4 percent of Houstonians choose not to imbibe, which means 89.6 percent do. It’s important to note, though, that the list does not reveal the volume of drinking in each city. All adults that drink alcohol — from problem drinkers to those who only crack open a bottle on special occasions — were included in the data set.

One reason why some cities are boozier than others may have something to do with geography. The Alcohol.org analysis noted that the cities with the most teetotalers tended to be clustered around beaches or large bodies of water (Honolulu has the most non-drinkers at 21.20 percent). Conversely, the majority of cities with the least non-drinkers were located on the arid Southwest. Arizona has the most slots on that top 10 list, with Gilbert coming in at No. 1.

Municipalities in the Lone Star State were scattered across the most drinking cities list.

  • Laredo, No. 4
  • Austin, No. 5
  • Plano, No. 10
  • Dallas, No. 14
  • Irving, No. 15
  • El Paso, No. 16
  • San Antonio, No. 22
  • Houston, No. 24
  • Fort Worth, No. 29
  • Corpus Christi, No. 31
  • Garland, No. 35
  • Lubbock, No. 37

Of the state’s 10 most populous cities, only Arlington was not named. Overall, Texas outdrank the nation with the most slots on the list.