Binge Drinking Rates Higher Among High-Income Households Says CDC

February 9, 2012

Gone are the days of the stereotypical binge drinker – the college freshman new to freedom and unable to hold his or her liquor. Though there are certainly a number of young people who fall into this category, a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that high-income households (making more than $75,000 per year) are now the most common binge drinking forum, not the college campus.

However, according to the study, when those living in households making $25,000 or less per year binge drink, they do it in a bigger way, indulging in an average of eight or nine drinks during each binge as compared to four or five drinks for binge drinkers in higher income houses.

Not Average

Binge drinking is a favorite pastime of Americans, but the two groups who ranked highest for their binge drinking behaviors do not describe most of the American public. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, only 23.5 percent of households in the United States earned $25,000 or less and about 33 percent earned $75,000 or more. The median household income for the United States was $51,914 in 2010.

That’s not to say that those living in middle-income houses don’t binge drink often; it just means that they neither do it the most often nor do they binge more heavily than average.

What Exactly Is Binge Drinking?

Taking a second glass of wine at dinner is not considered binge drinking. Neither is heading out to the bar and having two or three cocktails. The CDC says that binge drinking for a man occurs when he has five drinks or more. For women, the number is slightly lower at four drinks or more.

Americans who binge drink tend to do it between three and four times per month, a number that likely coincides with the number of times they go out on the weekends. And who is more likely to binge drink? According to the CDC, the stereotypical binge drinker is a man who has been to college.

What’s Wrong With Binge Drinking?

Many are confused by the new focus on the dangers of binge drinking. If Americans are having a few beers or more on the weekends, what’s the harm? Unfortunately, the harm is pretty extensive. Those who binge drink regularly are more likely to take dangerous risks, like getting behind the wheel while they are intoxicated or having unprotected sex with strangers. They also lose quite a bit in terms of work productivity and opportunities to improve the quality of their life. Health issues increase, as well, along with the rates of lost jobs and broken families.

Binge drinking may be most problematic because few recognize that it’s a problem if they are functioning at work and at home. However, if binge drinking is an issue for you or someone you love, it is recommended that you get the help you need to stop now.

Contact us today at Michael’s House to hear more about our alcohol abuse and addiction treatment services. Find out how we can help you change your life.

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