Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I call bullshit!

I just came across this article from Forbes magazine on the America's Hardest Drinking Cities. Seeing that I live- and contribute- to Milwaukee being America's Drunkest City, I fully expected to see my beloved Beer Capital of the World named number one. To my shock, we were number two, second to Austin, TX.

Now I am sure the people of Austin love their drink. I am not saying they don't know how to party. But are they "harder" drinkers than the people of Milwaukee? I had to see the results to figure it out myself. One thing to note off the top. This is NOT the same study as done two years ago. The differences are noted below, thus Milwaukee can still claim to being America's Drunkest City.

Onto the study... You can read how they whittled the list down from 40 cities and came up with their results in the article. This time around they focused on 3 categories, not 5 as they did in the past.
The remaining 33 cities were then ranked based on their residents' responses to
three different questions on the BRFSS: whether they had at least one drink of
alcohol within the past 30 days; whether men had more than two drinks per day or
women one drink per day; and whether they had five or more drinks on one
occasion. In each case, higher-ranking cities reported larger percentages of
their population answering in the affirmative.
To determine the 15
hardest-drinking cities, we added up the rankings from each category, counting
the "five or more drinks on one occasion" question twice, since it most directly
addresses the question of problem drinking. We then sorted that sum into our
final ranks.

So you have 3 categories with one question being counted twice. Ok, let's look at the categories and the scores for both Austin and Milwaukee.
Residents who had at least one drink in the last 30 days: 61.5%
Men who had more than two drinks per day, or women one drink: 8.8%
Residents who had five or more drinks on one occasion: 20.6%

Residents who had at least one drink in the last 30 days: 70.6%
Men who had more than two drinks per day, or women one drink: 5.3%
Residents who had five or more drinks on one occasion: 21.4%

A quick view of the numbers show only 1 category where Austin ranked higher. Strangely enough, Milwaukee ranked as one of the lowest cities where people claim to drink so much per day. As for the other two categories, no other city tops Milwaukee.

So let's add up the numbers as Forbes claims they did. Each category is counted with the "five or more drinks" counting twice.

Austin- 61.5 + 8.8 + 20.6 + 20.6 = 111.5
Milwaukee- 70.6 + 5.3 + 21.4 + 21.4 = 118.7

Last I checked, 118.7 > 111.5. Looks like Milwaukee is a harder drinking city than Austin.

Forbes does not have a table showing the results side by side nor how the calculations were done so we can only go by what is stated in the article. Thus I call bullshit on Forbes! Time for me to write the authors a letter to show them the error and allow them to either back up their findings with correct results or make the correction.


Anonymous said...


I'm H. and I work in a company interested in blog advertising. I found your blog engaging and I'm contacting you to ask if you are interested in blog post sponsorship.

If you are interested, kindly mail back ( and I'll send you pricing details, guidelines and processes. Looking forward to doing business with you.



Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

Bad Beat for Mil.