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(Photo: Petr Kratochvil via Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo: Petr Kratochvil via Wikimedia Commons)

In The Seattle Times today, Melissa Allison reports that liquor prices have leveled off a bit since they spiked in June, which is when the state closed its stores and private businesses began selling alcohol.  Even though prices have moderated, they were still 10 percent higher this August compared to August 2011.

Most of the readers who have commented on the story don’t seem to mind the price jump.  Sure, if you’re not a big drinker, the increased cost might not bother you at all.   But I think there are some Washingtonians who are feeling it in their pocketbooks — the folks that the Centers for Disease Control classifies as heavy drinkers.  By the CDC definition, a heavy drinker is a man who has more than two drinks per day, and a woman who has more than one.

And there’s quite a few of us here in Seattle who meet that standard.  According to 2010 CDC data, in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro area, 6.1 percent of us are heavy drinkers.  Among 192 metro areas in the United States, that puts us in a tie for 44th place.  We’re also the heaviest drinkers in Washington or Oregon — we narrowly beat out the Portland metro area.  Apparently lattes aren’t the only thing we like to drink around here.

Seattleites are clearly doing their part to keep liquor sales strong in Washington.  The same cannot be said, however,  for the residents of the Tri-Cities.  Data show that a mere 2.4 percent of the population in the Kennewick-Richland-Pasco metro area drink heavily.  They’re not only the biggest teetotalers in Washington state, they rank as the 8th soberest people in the country!

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Here’s a chart showing how Washington’s metros stack up:

 

:

#

Metropolitan Area

% Heavy Drinkers

1

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett

6.1

2

Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton

5.9

3

Bremerton-Silverdale

5.8

4

Spokane

5.5

5

Tacoma

5.4

6

Olympia

5.3

7

Yakima

4.1

8

Kennewick-Richland-Pasco

2.4

—————————–

 

And in case you’re wondering: The biggest drinkers in America appear to be concentrated in Florida. Three of the top ten metros for heavy drinking are in the Sunshine State, including No. 1 Key West-Marathon, where a whopping 10 percent of the population can’t make it through the day without a couple of stiff ones.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tennessee boasts three of the 10 driest metros, including No. 1 Nashville, where only 1 percent of the population drinks heavily.