Dry States 2020

A dry state is a state in which the manufacturing, distribution, importation and sale of alcohol is illegal or very restricted. While no state in the United States is completely dry today, dry counties within the states still exist.

Prior to the 1920 prohibition, the United States passed laws that allowed a county or township the option to be dry. Maine was the first state to implement a statewide law prohibiting the production and sale of alcohol in 1851. Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts followed by passing their own prohibition laws, and by 1913, nine states had statewide prohibition and 31 others had local option laws.

On December 19, 1917, congress approved a legislation to prohibit the manufacture, sale, transportation, and importation of alcoholic beverages. Mississippi was the first to ratify the amendment in 1918, and Nebraska was the 36th state to do so, giving the amendment the three-fourths majority from the states needed to pass it. Nationwide prohibition went into effect on January 17, 1920.

After the 21st Amendment passed to repeal the nationwide prohibition, it still allowed for prohibition under state or local laws. Today, counties that allow alcohol are considered to be “wet,” those that prohibit the sale of alcohol are “dry,” and those that have special circumstances or are mixed are “moist.” There are 33 states that have laws in place to allow localities to prohibit the sale, consumption and possession of alcohol. Many of these are in the South, and religious beliefs are often the motivation for continuing prohibition laws.

Some of the 33 states that permit localities to go dry have specific statewide circumstances. Arkansas has 34 dry counties out of its 75, and all alcohol sales are prohibited on Sundays. New Mexico is wet by default but is dry on Sundays until noon. Kansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee are dry states by default, and counties must specifically authorize the sale of alcohol.

The 33 states that allow localities to go dry are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Dry States 2020

Source:
State 2020 Pop.
Alabama4,908,620
Alaska734,002
Arizona7,378,490
Arkansas3,039,000
California39,937,500
Colorado5,845,530
Connecticut3,563,080
Delaware982,895
District of Columbia720,687
Florida21,993,000
Georgia10,736,100
Hawaii1,412,690
Idaho1,826,160
Illinois12,659,700
Indiana6,745,350
Iowa3,179,850
Kansas2,910,360
Kentucky4,499,690
Louisiana4,645,180
Maine1,345,790
Maryland6,083,120
Massachusetts6,976,600
Michigan10,045,000
Minnesota5,700,670
Mississippi2,989,260
Missouri6,169,270
Montana1,086,760
Nebraska1,952,570
Nevada3,139,660
New Hampshire1,371,250
New Jersey8,936,570
New Mexico2,096,640
New York19,440,500
North Carolina10,611,900
North Dakota761,723
Ohio11,747,700
Oklahoma3,954,820
Oregon4,301,090
Pennsylvania12,820,900
Rhode Island1,056,160
South Carolina5,210,100
South Dakota903,027
Tennessee6,897,580
Texas29,472,300
Utah3,282,120
Vermont628,061
Virginia8,626,210
Washington7,797,100
West Virginia1,778,070
Wisconsin5,851,750
Wyoming567,025