Alcohol outlet density restrictions

Program basics

  • Local regulations (zoning, licensing) are applied to limit the number of establishments in a given area that sell or serve alcohol
  • Aim to reduce excessive drinking and crime, particularly among underage people
  • Typically targeted against domestic crime, including intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, suicide, and gun violence

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)


Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Target population


Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Declines in overall alcohol consumption
  • Reduced crime
  • Reduced underage drinking

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Limiting the number of alcohol outlets near colleges, universities, and high schools can be an effective way of reducing underage drinking.
  • Effectively implementing this policy demands good measurement data. To calculate alcohol outlet density, local leaders should create measurement teams, define what constitutes an alcohol outlet, obtain and validate alcohol license data, and locate all alcohol outlets by a specific geography.

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