Report: Midwestern cities rank highest for excess

By Tony Edwards, contributing writer

December 2, 2019 -- Total the number of smokers, coffee drinkers, and the number of fast-food restaurants in a city and you have one formula to identify a population in need of dental care -- and potential for periodontal disease. Personal finance website WalletHub ranked U.S. cities for "vice and excess" and found three midwestern U.S. cities ranked highest.

The website ranked more than 180 U.S. cities on almost 40 critical indicators of so-called vices and excess. Their analysis was published on November 18.

The site ranked the cities in categories such as thefts per capita, adults who did not exercise, rates of excessive drinking, and more. Included under the "excesses and vices" category was data based on question, including the following:

  • How many obese adults are in an area?
  • How many fast-food establishments per capita?
  • What is the age-adjusted prevalence of binge drinking?
  • What is the share of adult smokers in a city?
  • What is the share of adult coffee drinkers?
  • How many retail opioid prescriptions were dispensed per 100 persons?

While three Midwest cities were ranked highest in vice and excess, the five lowest-ranked were all in California.

Top- and lowest-ranked U.S. cities for vice and excess
Highest ranked Lowest ranked
St. Louis, MO Glendale, CA
Toledo, OH Fremont, CA
Cincinnati, OH Huntington Beach, CA
Jacksonville, FL San Jose, CA
Louisville, KY Irvine, CA

The report indicated that Madison, WI, and Washington, DC, were the two cities with the most excessive drinking, more than two times as much as the Huntington, WV, and Charleston, WV, the two cities with the least excessive drinking. WalletHub had previously calculated that smoking alone costs the U.S. more than $300 billion each year in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

Las Vegas and Los Angeles topped the overall list of the most "sinful" cities in the U.S., with Pearl City, HI, and South Burlington, VT scoring lowest on the "vice index."

To compile the rankings, WalletHub researchers used data from various sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others.

For more information, the full report is available on the WalletHub website.

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