Words & Deeds

Boise just finished Top 3 in a new U.S. study. Drink to celebrate? Um, make it a double.

It feels good to see Boise rated highly on national lists, whether it’s best places to live or top cities for young professionals.

But like a recent report highlighting Idaho for its gun-industry dependence, the latest numbers to hit the interweb will elicit different reactions from different folks.

Boise ranks No. 3 in the nation when it comes to percentage of residents who drink alcohol, according to numbers crunched by Alcohol.org. The imbibers include residents 18 and older in the 100 largest cities in the United States.

The Top 5 cities with the highest percentage of drinkers? Gilbert, Arizona (91 percent), Scottsdale, Arizona (90.9), Boise (90.8), Laredo, Texas (90.7), and Austin, Texas (90.6).

The Top 5 with the lowest percentage? Honolulu, Hawaii (78.8 percent), Fremont, California (84.5 percent), Hialeah, Florida (85.4), San Francisco (85.9) and Detroit (86.6).

Boise likes its booze. Idaho Statesman readers definitely are attracted to articles about Idaho breweries and liquor trends.

Still, I have my doubts about the reliability of the Alcohol.org breakdown. (And not because Utah is nowhere to be found among the nondrinkers. Remember, Salt Lake City’s population does not qualify it as a Top 100 city.)

The methodology at Alcohol.org is arguable, if not slightly fuzzy. Granted, I may have had one too many Mike’s Hard Lemonades.

“We pulled the data on the percentage of nondrinkers in the 100 largest U.S. cities from city-data.com,” Alcohol.org explains. “We combined that with the age 18+ population of each city to calculate the actual volume of nondrinkers.”

And how did city-data.com figure out exactly who drinks in Boise and who doesn’t?

The statistic is listed under “People not drinking alcohol at all” in the Health and Nutrition section.

Did someone poll every Boise man, woman and child? Did the number come from a government agency? City-data.com freely admits that “a lot of content on our site is user-generated.”

Whatever the case, there’s fascinating reading in that Health and Nutrition section. Check out the supposed percentage of “People Feeling Badly About Themselves” in Boise: 20.2 percent!

Better bump that a few points now that Alcohol.org has shamed us.

Whatever. Boise finished near the top of another national list. No reason to whine about it. Maybe we should wine about it. And if you’re gonna celebrate with a drink, might as well live up to the ranking and have a double.

Oh wait, right. We finished No. 3. Would a triple be overkill?

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.