September 07, 2017

About 137 Million Americans Drink Alcohol

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) results for 2016 have been release by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicating that 136.7 million American report themselves to be current alcohol drinkers.




In addition, 7.3 million American under the age of 21 reported past-month alcohol use and 4.5 million of those underage drinkers reported that they binge drink.

NSDUH asks respondents aged 12 or older about their alcohol use in the 30 days before the interview. Current alcohol use is defined as any use of alcohol in the past 30 days.

In addition to asking about any alcohol use, NSDUH collects information on binge alcohol use and heavy alcohol use. Until the 2015 NSDUH, the threshold for binge drinking was defined the same for male and females. Consistent with federal definitions and other federal data collections, the NSDUH definition for binge alcohol use since 2015 differs for males and females.

Binge drinking for males is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days, which is unchanged from the threshold prior to 2015.

Since 2015, binge alcohol use for females has been defined as drinking four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. Heavy alcohol use is defined as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past 30 days based on the thresholds that were described previously for males and females.

136.7 Million Americans Drink Alcohol

Any alcohol use, binge drinking, and heavy drinking are not mutually exclusive categories of use; heavy use is included in estimates of binge and current use, and binge use is included in estimates of current use.

Because of the 2015 changes to the definition of binge alcohol use in NSDUH, overall estimates of binge and heavy alcohol use in 2016 are presented in this report, but these 2016 estimates are not comparable with estimates prior to 2015.

In 2016, 136.7 million Americans aged 12 or older reported current use of alcohol, 65.3 million reported binge alcohol use in the past month, and 16.3 million reported heavy alcohol use in the past month. Thus, nearly half of current alcohol users reported binge alcohol use (47.8 percent), and 1 in 8 current alcohol users reported heavy alcohol use (11.9 percent). Among binge alcohol users, about 1 in 4 (24.9 percent) were heavy users.

Any Alcohol Use

The estimate of 136.7 million current alcohol users aged 12 or older in 2016 (Figure 9) corresponds to alcohol use in the past month by slightly more than half (50.7 percent) of people aged 12 or older. The 2016 estimate of past month alcohol use was similar to the estimates in most years between 2002 and 2008, but it was lower than the estimates in 2009 to 2015.

Aged 12 to 17

The percentage of adolescents aged 12 to 17 who were current alcohol users was 9.2 percent in 2016, which corresponds to 2.3 million adolescents in 2016 who drank alcohol in the past month. The percentage of adolescents who were current alcohol users in 2016 was lower than the percentages in 2002 through 2014, but it was similar to the percentage in 2015.

Although the estimate of current alcohol use among adolescents decreased between 2002 and 2016, about 1 in 11 adolescents were current alcohol users in 2016.

Aged 18 to 25

In 2016, 57.1 percent of young adults aged 18 to 25 were current alcohol users, which corresponds to about 19.8 million young adults. The percentage of young adults in 2016 who drank alcohol in the past month was similar to the percentage in 2015.

Although the 2016 estimate was lower than the estimates in 2002 through 2014, about three fifths of young adults were current alcohol users in each year between 2002 and 2016 (ranging from 57.1 to 62.0 percent).

Aged 26 or Older

More than half (54.6 percent) of adults aged 26 or older in 2016 were current alcohol users. This percentage corresponds to about 114.7 million adults in this age group who drank alcohol in the past month.

The percentage of adults aged 26 or older in 2016 who were current alcohol users was similar to the percentages in most years from 2002 to 2015. In each year between 2002 and 2016, slightly more than half of adults aged 26 or older were current alcohol users (ranging from 52.5 to 56.5 percent).

Binge Alcohol Use

In 2016, an estimated 65.3 million people aged 12 or older were binge alcohol users in the past 30 days. This number of people who were current binge drinkers corresponds to about 1 in 4 people aged 12 or older (24.2 percent).

About 1.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 were past month binge alcohol users, which corresponds to 4.9 percent of adolescents. Thus, about 1 in 20 adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2016 were current binge drinkers.

An estimated 38.4 percent of young adults aged 18 to 25 were binge alcohol users in the past month, which corresponds to about 13.3 million young adults. Stated another way, about 2 out of 5 young adults in 2016 were current binge alcohol users.

About a quarter (24.2 percent) of adults aged 26 or older were current binge alcohol users. This percentage corresponds to about 50.9 million adults in this age group who were binge drinkers.

Heavy Alcohol Use

The estimate of 16.3 million people aged 12 or older in 2016 who were heavy alcohol users in the past month represents 6.0 percent of the population aged 12 or older.

In 2016, 191,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 were current heavy alcohol users. Stated another way, about 1 out of 125 adolescents (0.8 percent) engaged in binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past 30 days.

About 1 out of every 10 young adults aged 18 to 25 (10.1 percent) were heavy alcohol users in the past month, which corresponds to 3.5 million young adults.

An estimated 6.0 percent of adults aged 26 or older in 2016 were current heavy alcohol users. This percentage corresponds to about 12.6 million adults aged 26 or older who were heavy alcohol users in the past month.

Underage Alcohol Use

All 50 states and the District of Columbia currently prohibit possession of alcoholic beverages by individuals younger than 21, and most prohibit underage consumption (i.e., consumption of alcoholic beverages prior to the age of 21).

In 2016, about 7.3 million people aged 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month, including 4.5 million who reported binge alcohol use and 1.1 million who reported heavy alcohol use. Thus, about three fifths of underage current drinkers (62.5 percent) were binge alcohol users, and about 1 in 7 were heavy alcohol users (14.7 percent).

About one fourth of underage binge alcohol users (23.5 percent) were heavy drinkers.

The estimate of 7.3 million underage people in 2016 who reported current alcohol use represents 19.3 percent of 12 to 20 year olds. Among people aged 12 to 20 in 2016, 12.1 percent were binge drinkers, and 2.8 percent were heavy drinkers.

The percentage of underage individuals who reported current alcohol use in 2016 was lower than the percentages in 2002 through 2014, but it was similar to the percentage in 2015 (Figure 14). Despite these declines over time, about 1 in 5 individuals aged 12 to 20 in 2016 drank alcohol in the past month.

Posted by Webmaster at September 7, 2017 02:21 PM

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