How Many Americans Drink Alcohol?

More than 60% of Americans drink alcohol, according to a Gallup report released last month.

The report found that 62% of Americans drink alcohol, keeping up with the 63% average since 1939. During this time frame, the amount each year varied from 55% in 1958 to 71% from 1976-1978.

The groups most likely to drink were those who make over $100,000 yearly (79%), college graduates (74%), those between the ages of 35 – 54 (66%), and those who attend a religious service less than once a week (65% near weekly, 67% never). Only one group was reported to be more likely not to drink alcohol— weekly religious service attendees (48%).

Of those who did not drink, nearly 1 in 4 (24%) say they felt no need to drink. Other common responses were that they don’t like drinking (16%), want to avoid the health effects (14%), want to avoid the consequences (13%), had a bad experience drinking (13%), had other health issues (11%) or were avoiding it for religious reasons (10%).

Of those who do drink, 69% say they drank recently. Only 19% of respondents claim that they overdrink. This is four points below the trend average of 23%. It was also noted that males (21%), people who make over $100,000 annually (24%), and people under 35 years old (22%) were the most likely to over-indulge. 

Regarding drink preferences, beer continues to be the most popular alcohol (37%), though it isn’t as popular as it was roughly 25 years 2-3 decades ago. For the first time, liquor was recorded to be the second-most popular drink of choice, with a high of 31% marking it as their drink of choice. Wine was found to be in third with 29%, the lowest seen since 1996.

Demographics did seem to play into an individual’s drink of choice. Men were found to prefer beer (53%) while women chose wine (44%). People above 54 and under 35 were found to prefer beer. 

Beer was also preferred by those without a college degree over those with a college education. 

“Americans’ drinking habits are relatively steady, with more than three in five saying they consume alcohol and about one in five drinkers admitting to overindulging sometimes,” Megan Brenan, a research consultant at Gallup, wrote. “Beer remains the top drink of choice for Americans, while liquor has been trending up and is now about as popular as wine.”

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Studying Management Information Systems with a minor in Data Science at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, after graduation, Ball plans on pursuing a career in data science. She is a Good Faith Media Ernest C. Hynds Jr. intern for summer 2023.