States That Drink the Least

Alcohol consumption varies by state.
Alcohol consumption varies by state.

Alcohol is regularly consumed by millions of Americans annually. Although most of the consumers drink responsibly, an estimated 18% of Americans drink excessive amounts of alcohol. In 2010, the United States was ranked the 48th nation with the highest per capita alcohol consumption for persons above 15 years. Different states have varying levels of alcohol consumption. Some of the states that have the least per capita consumption of alcohol include Idaho, Utah, West Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

States That Drink the Least


The American state of Idaho is ranked as the state with the least per capita consumption of alcohol. The state has a per capita consumption of 0.9 gallons of alcohol according to a 2018 report by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Additionally, Idaho is one the most sparsely populated states in the US with an estimated population of 1.7 million residents. The state has strict alcohol laws that prohibit the possession, sale, or consumption of alcohol for persons below the age of 21 years with a few exceptions. Some counties in Idaho prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sundays and during special holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Memorial Day. People who violate the alcohol laws in Idaho are fined and in some cases jailed for the offence.


Utah is an American state in the western region of the country. In 2018, it was ranked as the second state with the least consumption of alcohol per capita. The state’s per capita consumption of alcohol in 2016 was 1.34 gallons. Utah is home to approximately 3.1 million people. The state has tough laws on alcohol consumption. The state has an Alcoholic Beverage Control department that strictly regulates the trade of beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks. Wine and spirits are only sold in authorized state liquor stores. Some local authorities prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sunday. The tough beer laws in Utah account for the low alcohol consumption in the state.

West Virginia

West Virginia in the US is the third lowest state regarding alcohol consumption. The state had a per capita consumption rate of 1.76 gallons in 2016. The state is home to 1.8 million people. West Virginia is one of the 17 states in the Alcoholic beverage control states. Before 1960, the state of West Virginia strictly controlled the sale of alcohol. The state owned all liquor stores in the state. In the 1960’s West Virginia relaxed its laws and allowed private owners to operate liquor stores. However, the state still controls the sale and distribution of distilled spirits.


Arkansas is fourth US state with the least alcohol consumption. The state’s alcohol consumption per capita stood at 1.8 gallons in 2016. Arkansas has a population of slightly over 3 million residents. The state exercises some level of control in the alcoholic drinks industry. The laws in Arkansas require one to be above 21 years to sell alcohol in a bar or at a retail shop. Alcohol consumption is restricted for people below 21 years.

Alcohol Laws in the United States

Some states regulate the consumption of alcohol in their territory. The controls began with the temperance movement which supported for abstinence from consuming alcoholic drinks. Beginning in 1920, alcohol consumption was outlawed in the US. In 1933, the ban on alcohol consumption was repealed, but some states still maintained restrictions on sale, possession, and consumption of alcohol. Currently, 17 American states exercise control over the alcoholic drinks industry.

States That Drink the Least

RankStateAlcohol Cnosumption (Per Capita, Gallons)
3West Virginia1.76
11North Carolina2.13
16New York2.22
17South Carolina2.22
21New Mexico2.27
23California 2.33
24New Jersey2.34

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