Background: This paper examines differences in drinking and binge drinking between Mexican Americans living along the U.S.–Mexico border and those living in 2 metropolitan areas away from the border (Houston, Texas and Los Angeles, California).
Methods: Respondents in the non-border area (Houston and Los Angeles) constitute a multistage probability sample (N = 1,288), who were interviewed as part of the 2006 Hispanic Americans Baseline Alcohol Survey (HABLAS). Respondents in the border area (N = 1,307) constitute a household probability sample of Mexican Americans living on the U.S.–Mexico border. In both surveys, data were collected during computer-assisted interviews conducted in respondents’ homes. The HABLAS and the border sample response rates were 76 and 67%, respectively.
Results: There were no differences between border and non-border Mexican American men in the proportion of drinkers, the proportion who binge drink at least once a year, and volume of alcohol consumption. However, within each location, there were significant differences in drinking by age, indicating that younger men drank more than men who were older. Border women showed significant differences across age-groups in the proportion of drinkers, in binge drinking, and volume of alcohol consumption, which were not seen among non-border women.
Conclusions: Women’s drinking seems to be more affected than men’s by their residence on or off the U.S.–Mexico border. This is seen most clearly among young women 18 to 29 years old, and it is associated with an increased proportion of drinkers, a higher volume of drinking, and an increased proportion of women who report binge drinking. Increased drinking in this group of younger women seems to be associated with drinking in Mexico.