Science and Tech


Study finds Americans are drinking alcohol at sustained elevated rates

The study found that Americans' alcohol use is about as elevated as it was decades ago and that many self-reported trying alcohol as young as 14.
Someone pouring an alcoholic beverage.
Posted at 10:30 PM, Jun 16, 2023

A recent study revealed that drinking habits among Americans appear to be historically elevated, with many reporting they drank alcoholic beverages as young as 14 years old.

Wine consumption is up for Americans, with 50% more people consuming wine since 1995.

Beer consumption has fallen by about 15% since the mid-1990s.

The study data published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that alcohol consumption has had marked declines and increases throughout history.

In 1860, the average consumer drank about 2.5 gallons of alcohol.

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Modern-day alcohol consumption peaked in 1980, when the average person drank around 2.8 gallons of alcohol, the study found. 

The standard drink, according to the study, contains about 0.6 fluid ounces of ethanol. 

The National Institutes of Health found that women are starting to close the gender gap in categories where men traditionally were at the top when it came to alcohol consumption. Today, men and women are at the same level when it comes to binge drinking, whereas men traditionally outnumbered women 3 to 1 in that area. 

A number of factors have contributed to a rise in alcohol consumption, but the commonality is the prevalence of ethanol-containing beverages. The consumption of alcohol is not only extremely socially normalized in American society, but there are now a plethora of various alcohol-containing beverage products available at many convenient locations and events. A study found that girls who begin drinking at a young age have a faster sprint from their first drink to their first episode of binge drinking. 

And the last time the federal governmentraised its excise tax on alcohol was in 1991.