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Map: North Dakota rates as the 'booziest' state in U.S.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 28th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In a map rating the number of residents to the number of bars in any given U.S. state, North Dakota comes just ahead of Montana as being the "booziest" state in the union. It's not a flattering reputation, but many North Dakotans have just shrugged it off and admit that there's very little else to do in their state.  

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the map there is one bar for every 1,621 North Dakotans. According to Census Data gathered in 2011, there are 422 bars in North Dakota. With a population under 700,000 people, North Dakota wears it dubious crown with a mixture of resignation and pride.

North Dakota tops lists for both binge and teen drinking. It's been previously suggested that the state's rural demographics could be one reason why people take to the bottle.

To hear the locals explain it, enjoying a drink after work or on the weekend is a popular thing to do in virtually every city in the country. In North Dakota, it's not just a way to pass time, sit down and have a beer; it is the center of many communities.

"Its kind of a centerpiece. There really isn't anything else to do in a town of like 200 people," Jason Stein, Bar Manager of the Supper Club and Lounge in Davenport tells reporters.

Pam Sagness, prevention administrator for the Mental Health and Substance Abuse division of the state health department, says that North Dakota's spot on that list was no surprise. Easy access is one of the driving factors behind North Dakota's track record of problems with alcohol abuse.

A pair of 2010 studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that North Dakotans binge drink more often, and in greater quantities than almost all Americans.

Even more alarming is the fact that North Dakotans don't see much harm in binge drinking. Sagness guessed that the North Dakotan attitude of "work hard, play hard" steadily drove up the ratio of bars to residents. "It didn't get to be this way overnight," Sagness said.

Fargo stands out across the country for alcohol hotspots.

Part of this complex substance abuse issue is the fact that there is no statewide agency regulating alcohol. It's left up to local governments to dole out liquor licenses.

"In rural communities, the local bar and grill is really the only place you can go to eat, and the food sales are usually about the same as the liquor sales," Bruce Schauer at the Wild Rice Grill and Bar says.

Montana comes in second list of bars to people. With just under a million state residents there is one bar per 1,658 members of the population.

The states with the least bars include Virginia with 125 bars in the entire state, for nearly eight million people. New Hampshire, a smaller state has only 38 bars split between 1.3 million residents.

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