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We took a quick look at the relationship between weather and alcohol consumption

A number of commenters on my binge drinking post asked about the connection between cold temperatures and binge drinking. One wrote:

"I noticed a pattern as I look out my window on a fine January afternoon in a state that's on the high end of the binge drinking scale: It's cold, and it gets dark very early in the evening. There's not much to do here for half the year if you like to actually be outside. Drinking is a way of dealing with the depression that comes from forced inactivity. I don't think it's a coincidence that northern, non-coastal states drink heavily."

I asked Charlotta Mellendar to see if that's the case. She compared average January temperatures to the CDC figures on binge drinking.

Sure enough, the two are related (as usual, all caveats about correlation being association, not causation, apply). The correlation is -.43, or as she put it, "the warmer the winters, the less binge drinking." The converse applies as well. The graph below visualizes the connection.

Top image credit: Yellowj / Shutterstock.com

About the Author

Richard Florida
Richard Florida

Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is the director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at New York University.

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