What Percentage of Americans Drink Alcohol?

WASHINGTON, DC — The average percentage of U.S. adults 18 and over who say they’ve used alcohol in the past two years is 63%, and 36% describe themselves as “definitely abstinent.” If we focus on the legal drinking age of 21 years and over nationwide, the drinking rate is as high as 65%.

Since 1939, Gallup has asked Americans if they “have occasion to use alcoholic beverages such as liqueurs, wine, and beer” or if they would “be completely abstinent”. The percentage dropped to 55% (1958) and rose to 71% (1970s). But in recent decades, the U.S. drinking rate has consistently hovered near her long-term average of 63%.

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Drinking varies most by economic means

U.S. adult drinking rates vary more by household income than by other standard demographic characteristics. According to 2021-2022 data, 80% of her 18+ adults living in households earning $100,000 or more reported drinking alcohol, while 49 of her in households earning less than $40,000 reported drinking alcohol. % is much higher. The proportion of the middle class is in the middle at 63%.

Relatedly, drinking also varies by education, with college graduates (76%) and graduate students (75%) most likely to report drinking. (65%), followed by about half (51%) of those who do not attend college.

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Religion also factors in people’s likelihood of drinking

Whether you drink alcohol or not depends on your religion. Adults who attend church or other places of worship weekly (50%) are less likely to drink alcohol than those who attend less frequently (63%) and non-believers (69%). increase.

In contrast, religious sect is not a strong factor in alcohol use. Protestants are the least likely major religious category to say they drink alcohol in the United States. But from 2021 to 2022, the 60% of Protestants who report drinking is only slightly lower than the 68% of Catholics and 67% of non-religious people in the United States.

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Men, young and white adults are more likely to drink than their peers

Alcohol consumption varies slightly by gender, with 61% of women reporting occasional drinking compared to 66% of men, as opposed to large differences by income and religion.

Drinking is more common among younger than older people, but this is only apparent when the analysis is limited to the legal drinking age. 60% of adults aged 18-29 drink alcohol, compared to 71% of those aged 21-29. This is comparable to, but higher than, the drinking prevalence of 30- to 49-year-olds (70%). Between 50-64 years old (64%) and he over 65 years old (54%).

Among the nation’s largest racial and ethnic groups, white adults age 18 and older (68%) are more likely than Hispanic adults (59%) or black adults (50%) to report alcohol consumption. Gallup A review of long-term data confirms that white adults are more consistently likely to drink alcohol than Hispanic or black adults, and that the drinking prevalence of the last two groups is statistically similar.

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How Much Do Drinkers Consume?

Overall, US drinkers reported consuming moderate amounts of alcohol in 2022, averaging four drinks per week for all drinkers. This number rises to an average of 6 drinks per week for those who appear to be regular drinkers, defined as having had at least one drink in the past week.

More specifically, when asked how many types of alcoholic beverages they have had in the past 7 days, one-third (34%) of drinkers in 2022 said they never drank. . About half (53%) said he drank between one and seven drinks, and 12% said he drank eight or more drinks, averaging more than once a day.

What is the drink of choice for Americans?

Over the years, beer has been a strong favorite of American drinkers, with nearly half citing it as their most frequent alcoholic beverage. The 2022 study still leads, but four percentage points ahead of wine, from 35% to 31%. On the other hand, among those who like alcohol, he hit a record high of 30%.

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Gallup measures Americans’ alcohol consumption each July as part of their consumption habits survey. This is one of the 12 surveys that make up the Gallup Poll Social Series.

See more Gallup articles about alcohol on our Alcohol Topics page.

Explore Gallup’s questions and trends about alcohol on the Gallup Topic AZ: Alcohol and Drinking page.

For more articles in the Short Answer series, visit Gallup’s The Short Answer page.

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