Last week, Forbes named Austin "the hardest-drinking city in America." In evidence of this claim, the magazine cites a CDC report saying that 61.5% of adult residents of Austin have had at least one drink in the past month, and 20.6% admit to "binge drinking" (five or more drinks on one occasion) at least once in the last month. The article goes on to postulate that these high numbers are in part due to the large population of college students here, who tend to drink a lot and often.
I say "eh."
Yeah, this is a hard-drinking city. People like to party here. I've gone out to drink more here than I ever did in Portland (and frankly it's still not very often). The heat makes me want to drink. The culture makes me want to drink. Some days, being around so many undergrads makes me want to drink. However, I don't get a feeling of depressing alcoholism here like I have in other cities. The drinking here seems, by and large, fun. Portland (number 13 on Forbes' list) was definitely seedier. Interestingly, the U.S. city that strikes me as the most depressingly drunk--Las Vegas--didn't make the list at all.