Alcoholism Across The Nation: New York
Editor's Note: This is part of a new series of articles "Alcoholism Across The Nation" that features the struggles of alcohol addiction in individual states, cities, towns and communities across the United States. To contribute information, statistics, or a guest post to this series, email [email protected] with the subject line "Guest Contributor".

New York State Alcohol Facts & Figures

New York State is a state with many campaigns and organizations, such as The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, aimed to reach individuals about the effects of alcohol and to help others stop the alcohol abuse. With varied methods of outreach, it is surprising to learn that binge drinking occurs at such a young age and that there are so many issues surrounding alcohol in New York.

Binge Drinking In New York

Binge drinking is often looked at as “not harmful” because for many people, it occurs occasionally or socially. Most binge drinkers do not always drink every day and therefore do not consider themselves alcoholics or to be abusing alcohol.  However alcoholics can engage in binge drinking. Binge drinking can be harmful due to the amount of drinks entering the system and based on how quickly drinking is occurring. Even if an individual is binge drinking, the body still feels the effects of the alcohol. Bingeing can cause poor judgment and decision making, anxiety, haziness, and in cases of over-consumption, there can be loss of consciousness or coma. Death is a very real consequence as well whether it is from suffocation, alcohol poisoning, or a reckless decision such as drunk driving.

Overall, binge drinking affects the drinker and those they interact with. It can lead to more frequent alcohol abuse and increasingly reckless decisions and behavior. If the individual is a parent, this can adversely affect the children on a psychological and emotional level as well. Binge drinking has been cited within sexual assaults and as a negative factor in affecting those with certain mental or behavioral disorders.

New York State Binge Drinking Statistics

The city with the most binge drinking: the Watertown-Fort Drum metropolitan area is the city that does the most drinking in New York. Published by the Watertown Daily Times 21.4% of adults over the age of 18 drank in that city. The New York State’s average is 16.5%, which is nationally actually one of the lowest percentages.

Underage Binge Drinking

Underage drinking can affect the growing brain. There are the same risks as an adult such as lack of judgement, and emotional regulation etc. However underage binge drinking may affect the brain differently because it is still developing and certain areas may be permanently impaired before the development is even complete. Underage drinking can lead to alcohol addiction when older, depending on how alcohol is treated, or engaging in actions that alter one’s future. Those who do not see or understand the consequences of underage drinking will most likely continue the actions as an adult.

In a recent report, 24% of high school juniors and seniors engaged in binge drinking during the past 2 weeks.

At least 50% of underage drinkers in New York engage in occasional binge drinking.

Of-Age Binge drinking

At least 40% of New Yorkers engage in occasional binge drinking.

In 2017, 17.5% of adults reported binge drinking in at least one occasion (in the past month).

Binge Drinking By Age & Income

  • 24.7% of adults age 18 to 44 engage in binge drinking.
  • 14.8% of adults age 45 to 64 engage in binge drinking.
  • 5.8% of adults who are 65+ engage in binge drinking.

With regard to income, it’s interesting to note that those who earn less than $25k drink the least, with only 13.1% of earners binge drinking. Those who earn over $75k drink the most, with 20.9% of those wage earners binge drinking. It would be interesting to inquire as to whether there was more binging among upper wage earners because more people are categorized into the $75k+ wage group or because there is more money that is able to be spent on alcohol and other recreation.

More Drinking Statistics for New York State

Drinking is occurring at increasingly younger ages and with increasing frequency. The fact is that underage drinking is highly prevalent, even though it can have so many consequences. The most devastating fact is how much of a factor alcohol is in deaths. The loss of lives is unnecessary and senseless.

In New York state alone, 75% of the high school senior population have drank alcohol.

Alcohol was the #1 cause of car accidents related to human error in 2014, making up a whopping 94.2%. In 2014, there were 7,849 alcohol-related crashes in the state of New York. In these accidents, 163 drivers were killed: 152 drunk drivers and 11 non-drinking drivers. 47 passengers, 71 pedestrians, and 11 bicyclists also died. There were 5,674 people injured in these accidents.

Alcohol In America

Alcohol is a major component in American society. It is present at festivities and commemorations and is used to comfort and to celebrate. It is consumed both legally and illegally. Alcohol has its hold on the American people regardless of the consequences. Slowly, people have begun to really see and feel the consequences of alcohol, even from just one night of drinking. Once people learn to handle alcohol with respect, only then will we see a change in the habits of the American people that can lead to a healthier relationship with alcohol.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a new series of articles “Alcoholism Across The Nation” that features the struggles of alcohol addiction in individual states, cities, towns and communities across the United States.  These articles show us what alcoholism really means in America today, both the big picture and on a more local, meaningful level.  To contribute information, statistics, or a guest post to this series, email our Managing Editor [email protected] with the subject line “Guest Contributor”.

Additional References: Center for Family Life & RecoveryUnited Health Foundation,