By Todd Feathers, News Staff
Boston, home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities and a huge population of college students, gained top honors in The Daily Beast’s rankings of the drunkest cities in the country this year.
The city was also ranked the smartest in the country, in a separate ranking by business magazine Fast Company.
This is the second year in a row The Daily Beast declared Boston the drunkest city. While college students certainly contribute to the drinks imbibed, many seem to think a drink or two here and there doesn’t necessarily hinder the brain.
“If you drink responsibly, you still can function,” Moad Alobedan, a second-year energy systems graduate student, said. “There’s a lot of schools here – Harvard, MIT – they do pretty well.”
Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are actually located in Cambridge, not Boston.
According to the Beast’s report, the average Boston adult consumes 15.6 alcoholic beverages per month, up just one-hundreth of a drink over last year. The report said 7.4 percent of the city’s population are “heavy drinkers.”
Of Boston adults, 20.1 percent are binge drinkers, the report said. According to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), college students make up 24.6 percent of the city’s population.
Explaining why they ranked Boston the smartest city, Fast Company gave much of the credit to the 70 colleges and universities it says are in Boston. The BRA says only 35 are in the city proper.
But just because the city as a whole is the drunkest and smartest does not mean the two go hand in hand, middler pharmacy major Liz Katsman said.
“You can be smart and drink, but you can’t be very smart and drink all the time,” she said.
Another Massachusetts city, Springfield, dropped several spots in this year’s ranking of drunkest cities, falling from second in 2011 to 14th in 2012.
Norfolk, Va., Milwaukee, Wis., Charleston, S.C. and Austin, Texas rounded out the top five drunkest cities this year, in that order.
If Boston wants to hang on to its laurels next year, however, the city will have to find a way to avoid the dreaded hangover.
“It’s after you drink when you’re hungover that it’s a lot of time wasted,” Khalid Nawar, a second year industrial engineering graduate student, said. “It can really affect your performance.”