Brooklyn Boro

These Brooklyn neighborhoods have the highest rates of binge drinking

Brooklyn's wealthiest areas are at the top of the list.

July 29, 2019 Scott Enman
Wealthier neighborhoods tend to have higher rates of binge drinking. Image via Pexels

The two wealthiest districts in Brooklyn have the highest percentage of binge drinking in the borough — far greater than the citywide rate, according to recently released Community Health Profiles from the city’s health department.

In Brooklyn Heights/Fort Greene and Park Slope/Carroll Gardens, 25 percent of residents engage in binge drinking, compared to the citywide and boroughwide rates of 17 and 15 percent respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, only 9 percent of Bensonhurst residents engaged in binge drinking, the lowest rate in the five boroughs.

To determine the percentages, the city surveyed residents to see if they had engaged in binge drinking in the previous 30 days. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in one sitting.

Dr. Denise Paone, director of research and surveillance at the Health Department’s Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use, said that binge drinking tends to be associated with neighborhoods with lower poverty rates. (Chronic drinking, conversely, tends to be greater in areas with high poverty, she said.)

While it is difficult to determine exactly why the percentages are higher in some neighborhoods, Paone said there are a few hypotheses, including the fact that residents with higher incomes can frequent bars more often.

“We hypothesize that consuming alcohol in New York City in bars is expensive,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle. “You need money to go to bars and drink, where if you have less money, you might go to an off-site premises and purchase alcohol and drink it at home. It’s just economics.”

She said that neighborhoods with a high density of bars, especially in Manhattan, tend to lead to higher rates of binge drinking. The habit tends to be higher among white New Yorkers and among people aged 25 to 44, according to Paone. Brooklyn’s two districts with the highest rates of binge drinking are both predominantly white.

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Dr. Anup Chitnis of NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn added that affluent communities tend to have more time and resources to indulge in drinking rather than impoverished residents, who might be working several jobs.

“In a poorer neighborhood, your money is spent more on necessities rather than having the luxury of disposable income and time that you’re not working or supporting your family,” he said.

The Brooklyn Heights/Fort Greene profile, which also encompasses Boerum Hill, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill, is 46 percent white, and 44 percent of the area is between the ages of 25 and 44.

The Park Slope/Carroll Gardens profile, which includes Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Red Hook and the Columbia Street Waterfront District, is 63 percent white, and 46 percent of the area is between the ages of 25 and 44.

Both community profiles have the highest median household incomes in all of Brooklyn, according to data from RentHop.

Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill’s median household income is $105,398; Park Slope/Gowanus is $101,784; Carroll Gardens/Columbia Street/Red Hook came in third at $85,496; and DUMBO/Vinegar Hill/Downtown Brooklyn/Boerum Hill is $84,945.

In an effort to promote healthier drinking habits, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order in May banning alcohol advertisements on all public property.

Here’s how each neighborhood in the borough compares in terms of binge drinking:

  • New York City: 17 percent
  • Brooklyn: 15 percent
  • Fort Greene/Brooklyn Heights: 25 percent
  • Park Slope/Carroll Gardens: 25 percent
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant: 21 percent
  • Bushwick: 20 percent
  • Crown Heights/Prospect Heights: 20 percent
  • Greenpoint/Williamsburg: 19 percent
  • Borough Park: 14 percent
  • Brownsville: 14 percent
  • East New York/Starrett City: 14 percent
  • South Crown Heights/Prospect-Lefferts Gardens: 14 percent
  • Canarsie/Flatlands: 13 percent
  • Flatbush/Midwood: 13 percent
  • Sunset Park: 13 percent
  • Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights: 12 percent
  • East Flatbush: 12 percent
  • Sheepshead Bay: 12 percent
  • Coney Island: 11 percent
  • Besonhurst: 9 percent

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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