Binge Drinking

Percentage of adults who report binge drinking in the past 30 days

PLACES Project, Centers for Disease Control. Data from 2021, 1 year modeled estimate.
Dashboard-City Average

Why do we measure binge drinking?

Excessive alcohol use is a common public health issue in the U.S. In particular, binge drinking—when a person consumes a high number of drinks on a single occasion—is linked to significant economic costs and early death.1,2 Car crashes, falls, burns, alcohol poisoning, and violence are all more likely among those who binge drink. Cancer, memory and learning problems, sexually transmitted diseases, and chronic diseases, such as stroke, heart disease, and liver disease, are also more widespread, as are fetal alcohol syndrome, poor pregnancy outcomes, and sudden infant death syndrome.3,4 For all of these reasons, reducing binge drinking would lower spending on health care and criminal justice and improve workplace productivity.2 Binge drinking is especially high among Whites, males, adults ages 18-34 years, and those with higher household incomes. Rates of intense binge drinking are greatest in American Indian/Native Alaskan populations.5

How do we measure binge drinking?

This metric includes women, age 18 or older, who report consuming more than four alcoholic drinks on one occasion or men, age 18 or older, who report consuming over five alcoholic drinks on one occasion.

Strengths and Limitations

Strengths of Metric

Limitations of Metric

• Binge drinking can have negative health effects for both the drinker and people around them, especially through car accidents.4

• Measuring binge drinking among adults can reveal larger societal norms and expectations about drinking culture.4


• Aspects of the metric are open to interpretation, as some people surveyed may not know the definition of a standard drink or the time length of an occasion of drinking.4

• The data do not capture binge drinking among youth, only respondents age 18 or older.

• The metric is self-reported and depends on the accuracy of the person surveyed.


Binge drinking is calculated by the following formula:

Binge drinking formula

For more information on the calculation, please refer to the City Health Dashboard Technical Documentation.

Data Source

Estimates for this metric are from one year modeled PLACES Project Data (formerly 500 Cities Project) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multi-year data are available for this metric. For more information, please refer to Using Multi-Year Data: Tips and Cautions


  1. Stahre M, Roeber J, Kanny D, Brewer RD, Zhang X. Contribution of Excessive Alcohol Consumption to Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States. 2014.

  2. Bouchery EE, Harwood HJ, Sacks JJ, Simon CJ, Brewer RD. Economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in the U.S., 2006. Am J Prev Med. 2011;41(5):516-524.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fact Sheets - Binge Drinking. Updated November 14, 2022; Accessed June 14, 2023.

  4. Kuntsche E, Kuntsche S, Thrul J, Gmel G. Binge drinking: Health impact, prevalence, correlates and interventions. Psychology & Health. 2017;32(8):976-1017.

  5. Kanny D, Liu Y, Brewer RD, Lu H. Binge drinking—United States, 2011. Morbidity and mortality weekly report Surveillance summaries (Washington, DC : 2002). 2013;62(Suppl 3):77-80.

Last updated: July 27, 2023