Alcohol Drinking Trends in the U.S.

The most recent Gallup poll found that 67% of American adults say they drink alcohol.

The Gallup Organization, which has been recording the proportion of adults in the U.S. who drink for the last 71 years, reports that although the numbers fluctuate slightly each year, it has remained relatively constant over time.

In 1939, six years after Repeal, 58% of American adults said they drank alcohol. Almost 20 years later, in 1958, the proportion dropped to a low of 55%. It peaked between 1976 and 1978 when 71% identified themselves as drinkers.

It is Gallup's belief that the results don't support the belief that bad economic times lead to more widespread consumption of alcohol.

Although the proportion of drinkers has not fluctuated rapidly in the U.S., there has been a gradual decline in the annual quantity of alcohol consumed per person for decades. It has dropped 23% between 1990 and 2007, according to official statistics collected by the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

 

Sources:

  • Cameron, Duncan. Illinois Beverage Guide, 2010, 10(9), pp. 2 and 4;
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Health Data. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2008.

Readings on Alcohol Consumption Statistics and Trends:

  • Austin, G.A., and Roizen, R. Alcohol Consumption among Youth. Portland, OR: Educational Resources Information Center, 1993.
  • Bromley, C. Scottish Health Survey 2003: Revised Alcohol Consumption Estimates. Edinborough, Scottish Centre for Social Research, 2008.
  • Catalano, P. Trends in Per Capita Alcohol consumption in Australia. Perta, W.A.: National Drug Research Institute, 2001.
  • Centers for Disease Control. Alcohol Consumption Data, Ages 12-74 Years. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 1988.
  • Clements, K.W. and Selvanathan, E.A. Alcohol Consumption. Nedlands, Westeren Austra;ia: 1986.
  • Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing. Alcohol Consumption in Australia. Canberra: CATI, 2003.
  • Gmel, G. Imputation of missing values in the case of a multiple item instrument measuring alcohol consumption. Statistics in Medicine, 2001, 20(15), 2369-2381.
  • Gmel, G. and Rehm, J. Measuring alcohol consumption. Contemporary Drug Problems, 2004, 31(3), 467-540.
  • Gmel, G., et al. Measuring alcohol consumption: should the "graduated frequency" approach become the norm in survey research? Addiction, 2006, 101(1), 16-30.
  • Graham, K., et al. Problems with the graduated frequency approach to measuring alcohol consumption. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2004, 39(5), 455-462.
  • Greenfield, T.K., et al. A ten-year national trend study of alcohol consumption. American Journal of Public Health, 2000, 90(1), 47-52.
  • Litten, R.Z. and Allen, J.P. Measuring Alcohol Consumption. Totowa,NJ: Humana Pres, 1992.
  • Mintell International Group, Ltd. Alcohol Consumption in Bars and Restaurants. London: Mintel International Group, 2008.
  • Mintell International Group, Ltd. Alcohol Consumption at Home. London: Mintel International Group, 2008.
  • O'Hair, T. Measuring alcohol consumption. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1991, 52(5), 500-502.
  • Productschap voor Gedistilleerde Dranken. World Drink Trends: International Beverage Alcohol Consumption and Production Trends. Henley-on-Thames, UK: NTC, 2003.
  • Productschap voor Gedistilleerde Dranken. World Drink Trends: International Beverage Alcohol Consumption and Production Trends. Henley-on-Thames, UK: NTC, 1993.
  • Rehm, J. Measuring alcohol consumption. Addiction, 1998, 93(7), 970-971.
  • Reid, M.C., et al. Measuring alcohol consumption among older adults. American Journal of Addictions, 2003, 12(3), 211-219.
  • Webb, G.R., et al. Comparison of a quantity-frequency and a diary method of measuring alcohol consumption. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1990, 51(3), 271-277.

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