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What Age Group Drinks The Most Alcohol? Answered (2022)

Last Updated on August 19, 2022 by Lydia Martin

According to a national survey conducted in 2019, a whopping 85 percent of people aged 18 and older have reported that they had drunk alcohol at one point in their lives — that’s around 17 adults out of 20. 

But what age group drinks the most alcohol? We’ll break down the math and tell you about it here. 

Most Alcoholic Age Group in the US

Most Alcoholic Age Group in the US A Gallup Poll survey on adults’ Consumption Habits showed that many factors, like age and gender, influence one’s drinking habits.

Younger people are more likely to drink than older people, and men are more inclined to have a tipple than women. [1

While many people may have reported having had a drink sometime in their lives, only 43 percent of them had consumed five or more drinks within the past month, averaging fewer than three servings per week. 

Here’s something that stays consistent, however — men tend to drink more than women, no matter which age group they’re in. 

A Closer Look 

A Closer Look 

Underage 

  • A 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey in Australia revealed that 2.8 percent of underage teenagers (around 14 to 17-year-olds) drank weekly.
  • While this number may seem small, it is still illegal for kids this age to be seen with alcohol, and it’s best to encourage them to practice responsible drinking (if we can’t completely prevent them). [2]
  • The same survey revealed that around 66 percent of teens in this age group have never had a full serving of alcohol, so that’s great news.

Adults

Adults

  • Adults over 18 years old make up the bulk of alcohol consumption.
  • In a National Health Interview Survey conducted last 2018, around 66.3 percent of adults consumed alcohol within the past year.
  • Of those who said they drank, 45.7 percent of them engaged in light drinking (three or fewer drinks per week), 15.5 percent moderate drinking (around four to seven drinks per week), and 33.7 percent did not indulge in alcohol at all.
  • Adults who were regularly upset, anxious, and depressed were twice as likely to engage in drinking more than usual compared to those who didn’t often have these feelings. 

Elderly

  • The University of Michigan surveyed several adults aged 50 to 80 on Healthy Aging.
  • 67 percent — about two in three adults — reported drinking alcohol within the past year.
  • Of those 67 percent who said they drank, 42 percent said they did so monthly or less often.
  • The majority of them revealed that they drank because they enjoyed the alcohol’s taste (around 50 percent), were in a social gathering (49 percent), or wanted to relax (38 percent).

Main Causes For Alcoholism Across Various Age Groups

Main Causes For Alcoholism Across Various Age Groups Family History

Believe it or not, family history plays a huge role in alcoholism.

Some people have a strong impulse to drink often and a lot, and it’s said there is a link between alcoholism and genetics/physiology.

Scientists have revealed that at least 51 genes in various chromosomes make one more susceptible to alcoholism, which can be passed down through generations. 

Early Age Drinking

Early Age Drinking

Early age drinking and other environmental factors can also contribute greatly to alcoholism.

If you were exposed to alcohol at a young age or have seen your parents drink on occasion, you are more likely to develop alcoholism as an adult because you’ll tend to look at it as a pretty normal part of life. 

Early binge drinking, especially as a teenager, can also develop into full-blown alcoholism, but of course, alcoholism can occur at any age. 

Peer Pressure

People who spend most of their time with frequent drinkers are often inclined to join in the “fun” or else be teased and branded as a killjoy.

Those starting college or a new job will often have a strong desire to fit in and be well-liked among others and will probably partake in alcohol even though they previously didn’t.

Before you know it, they’ll be present in most happy hour gatherings and begin associating fun with alcohol, which signals an impending alcohol abuse problem. But what percentage of Americans consume alcohol?

Stress

Stress

It’s normal to want something that relaxes us whenever we’re faced with stressful situations, like long work hours and dealing with strenuous tasks.

It becomes problematic when alcohol becomes our relaxant, as what happens with many of those who become dependent on it.

It’s important for us to find ways to destress without having to turn to alcohol or other addicting substances. 

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FAQs 

What group of people drink the most?

According to Statista, young adults aged 21 to 25 had the highest drinking rate. It is said that 63 percent of those within this age range had drunk alcohol in the recent past.

Binge drinking, defined as having four to five drinks in two hours, is most common in adults with higher incomes. 

Which age group is most vulnerable to alcohol dependence?

It is said that young adults between the age of 18 to 24 are most vulnerable to alcohol dependence.

Most young adults during this age go through a drastic transition, such as moving away from home, starting college, or embarking on a new job, and it’s normal for them to want to find a semblance of stability around this time.

They can also become dependent on alcohol because of peer pressure and the desire to be liked. 

Conclusion 

Young adults aged 18 to 24 years old have the highest rate of alcohol consumption among other age groups — statistics show that 63 percent of them have had a drink sometime in the recent past. 

This can be attributed to the fact that many from this age group go through some form of life upheaval at this age, whether that’s going off to college, starting a new job, or moving away from home.

They can and will cling onto anything (in this case, alcohol) that can give them a semblance of stability. 

Those over 50 were also inclined to have a drink or two occasionally. 43 percent of them said they had a drink once a month or even less often. 

References: 

  1. https://news.gallup.com/poll/353858/alcohol-consumption-low-end-recent-readings.aspx
  2. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/national-drug-strategy-household-survey-2019/contents/summary

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