31 Critical Alcoholism Statistics You Must Know in 2021

Alcoholism Statistics

31 Critical Alcoholism Statistics You Must Know in 2021

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Alcoholism represents a major public health issue in the United States. The ramifications of excessive drinking are numerous, and it remains unclear whether consumers are unaware of them, or if they consciously choose to ignore them.

Long-term alcohol abuse seriously affects the function of the brain, liver, pancreas, heart, liver, mouth, and the entire immune system. 

Looking at some recent and important alcoholism statistics is perhaps the best way to understand this problem.

While these can be surprising for some, they clearly show all the ways alcohol abuse is affecting our society. So check them out!

Crucial Alcoholism Facts (Editor’s Picks)

  • About 18 million adults suffer from alcohol use disorder in the US.
  • Men are two times more likely to drink heavily than women.  
  • Approximately 28 million American children have an alcoholic parent. 
  • North Dakota has the highest percentage of adults who drink heavily. 
  • Approximately 28% of all traffic accident deaths were caused by drunk drivers. 
  • Each day, 261 American die as a result of excessive alcohol use. 
  • 5.1% of diseases and injuries around the world are alcohol-attributed. 

United States Alcohol Consumption Statistics

1. In the US, approximately 18 million adults suffer from an alcohol use disorder. 

(MedlinePlus)

Most of the time, moderate alcohol drinking is harmless. However, for adults who have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), their drinking results in harm and distress. Depending on the symptoms, AUD can be mild to severe. When it’s severe, it’s often referred to as alcohol dependence or alcoholism. 

2. In the US, alcohol abuse is the third-leading preventable cause of death.

(NIAAA)

In the US, there are about 95,000 deaths related to alcohol per year. In relation to that, alcoholism is the third major preventable cause of premature death in the country. The first two are tobacco and poor diet combined with a sedentary lifestyle. 

3. Approximately 28 million children in the US live with an alcoholic parent. 

(American Addiction Centers)

Consequently, children who live with an alcoholic parent are more frequently exposed to all sorts of risky, alcohol-influenced behavior than other children. As a result, alcoholic parents are highly likely to have kids prone to depression, anxiety, and a wide range of cognitive problems.

If you’re wondering if alcoholism is genetic, statistics have shown that children with an alcoholic parent have a higher risk of turning into alcoholics themselves.

4. 40–50% of older American adults regularly drink alcohol. 

(NIH)

More than two-fifths of all Americans who are 65 and older consume more than one kind of alcoholic drink. They drink daily and usually in excess. What’s even worse is that 90% of older American adults are on medication, so a majority of them are drinking alcohol while on medication. 

Such behavior can lead to serious and potentially deadly complications. Even though this might sound like an exaggeration to some, alcohol consumption statistics are rather transparent and undeniable.

They show us that alcohol is deeply rooted in all parts of our society, and it often causes trouble where we expect them the least. 

5. The rate of Native Americans with an AUD is higher than the rest of the country. 

(American Addiction Centers)

To compare, 7.1% of Native Americans have an alcohol use disorder, while only 5.4% of the total US population have it. Moreover, Native American alcoholism statistics show that Native Americans have more problems with alcohol than any other ethnic group currently living in the United States. 

6. 1 in 6 Native American adolescents engage in underage drinking. 

(American Addiction Centers

There are numerous repercussions of alcohol abuse in Native American communities. Also, they range from increased risks of cancer, heart disease, and pneumonia to frequent mental health problems like depression and bipolar disorder. 

7. Men are two times more likely to engage in binge drinking than women.

(CDC)

According to alcohol abuse statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are two times more likely than women to take part in binge-drinking sessions.

An estimated 22% of men drink excessively at least five times a month. Additionally, 7% of women suffered from an alcohol use disorder in 2019 compared to 4% of women. 

8. 40% of people who attend Alcoholics Anonymous drop out during the first year. 

(American Addiction Centers)

Although we can’t be sure that those who drop out have relapsed, the alcoholism treatment success rates of the Alcoholics Anonymous remain unclear due to numerous factors.

Some members may not want to participate in studies, many don’t want to even say that they participate in AA, and some that relapse may not want to admit it. 

9. Nearly half of American adult women have consumed alcohol in the last 30 days. 

(CDC)

This proves to be an alarming rate, especially since there are health and safety risks that are unique to women when it comes to alcohol abuse. Research shows that the risk for developing liver and heart diseases are higher for women than men who drink heavily.

Moreover, there is a link between alcohol and crime, such as in sexual violence, which is heightened by excessive alcohol use. 

10. Women who drink during pregnancy are 19% more likely to have a miscarriage. 

(WebMD)

While many people think having a glass or two of wine during pregnancy might be good for a woman, researchers warn us that the truth is quite the opposite. Women who drink alcohol, even in small amounts, dramatically increase their risk of having a miscarriage. 

In most cases, the irreparable damage is done during the first three to four weeks of pregnancy when it cannot be detected by a home test and when most women aren’t even aware of the pregnancy yet. 

11. 88% of students agree driving under alcohol influence is dangerous. 

(Just Think Twice)

Who is more at risk of an accident, a person driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana? Reports show it’s the former.

According to marijuana vs alcohol statistics, 88% of students agree that it’s more dangerous to drive when drunk compared to 68% who said the same when intoxicated with marijuana.

Again, this is not surprising considering that alcohol is the third leading cause of premature death in the US as mentioned earlier in the article.  

Statistics on Alcohol-related Deaths

21. In the US, 4% of all cancer deaths are linked to alcoholism. 

(American Cancer Society)

Studies show that long-term and excessive consumption of alcohol is tightly connected to various forms of cancer. Scientists found evidence that alcohol may cause cancer at seven different sites of the body.

Since this is a condition that’s often diagnosed too late, heavy drinkers should consider increasing the frequency of their medical check-ups.  

13. 13.5% of deaths among people between the ages of 20 and 39 can be attributed to alcohol. 

(WHO)

According to alcohol addiction statistics published by the World Health Organization, nearly 1 in 6 deaths among young adults can be directly attributed to immoderate alcohol consumption.

Unrestrained drinking is, therefore, one of the deadliest habits of our time, and young adults are the most frequent victims. 

14. In 2019, 28% of all traffic fatalities were alcohol-attributable. 

(NHTSA)

An overview of motor vehicle crashes published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that almost one-third of all traffic deaths were caused by drunk driving.

Additionally, compared to drunk driving statistics from 2018, there were 568 fewer alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2019. This shows a 5.3% decrease. 

15. Teenage binge drinking causes about 3,500 fatalities every year. 

(CDC)

What’s worse than drunk driving? Teenage drunk driving. The number of teenagers who engage in excessive drinking has increased by more than 1% in 2020.

However, the silver lining is that it has decreased by 26% from 2011 and 54% from 1997 when the teenage binge drinking rate was at an all-time high.

This decline could be the result of the efforts of many governments and non-governmental agencies. Still, teen drunk driving statistics show that this problem causes 3,500 deaths each year. 

16. In 2019, 43.1% of all liver disease deaths among people aged 12 and older involved alcohol. 

(NIAAA)

Nearly half of the 85,688 liver disease deaths involved alcohol. Despite being one of the most durable organs that’s even capable of regenerating itself, the human liver isn’t almighty.

Consuming enormous amounts of strong spirits over short periods can inflict irreparable damage to this life-sustaining organ.

That’s why it’s alarming that college alcoholism statistics show that the popularity of binge drinking among young adults is on the rise. 

17. Alcohol-related liver disease deaths are more common in men than women. 

(NIAAA)

As mentioned previously, 43.1% of the 85,688 liver disease deaths involved alcohol. However, we also found that it is more common in men than women.

Among men, 45.6% of the 53,486 liver disease deaths involved alcohol. Among women, the percentage is slightly lower, at 39% of 32,202 liver disease deaths. 

18. Excessive alcohol use causes 261 deaths per day among Americans. 

(CDC)

If we look at the yearly stats on alcohol abuse, over 95,000 Americans die as a result of excessive alcohol use, which has grown significantly from 72,558 in 2017. As it is, excessive drinking is the leading cause of preventable deaths among Americans. 

19. Over half of alcohol-related deaths are a result of health issues from long-term excessive drinking. 

(CDC)

Long-term binge drinking causes various diseases, including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and liver disease. More often than not, these diseases cause alcohol-related deaths in the US.

However, short-term binge drinking also causes deaths, such as in drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes, and suicide. 

Alcoholism Rates by State

20. North Dakota has the highest percentage of adults who binge-drink (24.7%). 

(USA Today)

As a result, the Peace Garden State has the highest rate of alcohol-attributed driving deaths in the United States. Still, only 13.4% of adults in North Dakota report that they are in poor or fair health, despite the state having high smoking and obesity rates. 

21. North Dakota has the highest percentage of alcohol-related driving deaths (46.7%).

(USA Today)

Almost half (46.7%) of all traffic accident fatalities in the state were caused by driving under the influence of alcohol, according to alcoholism statistics.

So, although not a lot of people fall ill due to long-term binge drinking, the statistics for its short-term effects, especially when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, cannot be denied. 

22. Tennessee has the lowest percentage of binge-drinking adults (11.2%). 

(USA Today)

Heavy drinking is not that big of a problem in Tennessee compared to other states. However, it’s not something that’s rare either, with 11.2% of binge-drinking adults in the state.

As a result, 28% of driving deaths in Tennessee are alcohol-related, and 19.9% of adults report to be in fair or poor health. 

23. Utah has the lowest percentage of alcohol-related driving deaths (19.7%). 

(USA Today)

Although statistics on alcohol consumption by state does not show Utah as having the lowest percentage of binge-drinking adults, they managed to keep their alcohol-related driving deaths at a minimum.

Moreover, the low percentage of binge-drinking adults in the state can be attributed to their religious beliefs. More than half of Utah’s population are Mormons, a religion that explicitly prohibits the consumption of alcohol. 

24. 21% of all adults in Minnesota are binge drinkers.

(USA Today)

More than one-fifth of all adults in this Midwestern state drink excessively on a regular basis. About 30% of all driving deaths in Minnesota are directly caused by drunk drivers. 

Despite having one of the highest percentages of adult binge-drinkers, the state has the third-lowest percentage of adults in poor or fair health (11.9%). Alcoholism recovery statistics in the state should probably be looked into. 

25. 24.5% of adults living in Wisconsin say they drink excessively.   

(USA Today)

Another US state that’s becoming infamous for its problem with alcoholism is Wisconsin. Approximately 36.9% of all traffic deaths can be linked to alcohol use disorder as almost a quarter of all inhabitants of America’s Dairyland drink in excess.

Their teenage alcohol abuse statistics aren’t any better, and the number of teenagers who lose their lives in alcohol-related traffic accidents continues to rise year after year. 

26. 64% of New Hampshire residents aged 12 or older drink monthly. 

(Concord Monitor)

Official federal statistics show that the number of regular alcohol users is by far the highest in the state of New Hampshire. The residents of this New England state have many reasons to worry because their alcohol-related crime rates are going up as well. 

Alcoholism Statistics

Alcohol Consumption by Country

27. 5.1% of global diseases and injuries are alcohol-related. 

(WHO)

According to the latest available data released by the World Health Organization, a little over 5% of all illnesses and injuries can be attributed to immoderate alcohol consumption. Harmful alcohol use causes a burden to societies in various aspects—health, economic, and social. 

28. Austria has the highest percentage of adults who drank heavily in the past 30 days (40.5%). 

(Statista)

According to alcoholism statistics by country, next in line after Austria are Ireland (39%) and Czech Republic (38.9%). There’s really not a lot of difference in these percentages, which can be quite concerning. Heavy drinking, in this case, is defined as drinking over three pints of lager in one session. 

29. 36.9% of all Russian males suffer from an alcohol use disorder. 

(WHO)

Russia is the country with the highest rate of alcoholism among males. Alcohol consumption is an intrinsic part of Russian culture, and many Russians start drinking in their early teens.

Unfortunately, this risky habit often gets out of hand, and some of them end up being dependent. 

The government continues to impose all sorts of restrictions in its effort to decrease the overall alcoholism rates by country.

And, while the situation is taking a turn for the better, a lot still has to be done when it comes to raising public awareness about this issue. 

30. 12% of Russian 15-year-olds drink alcohol at least once a week.

(WHO/Europe

Additionally, the Health Behavior in School-aged Children survey published by the World Health Organization has shown that at least every sixth Russian adolescent experienced their first drunkenness at the age of 13.

Fortunately, the latest teen alcoholism statistics in Russia are showing significant improvements, and it seems that the government’s measures are finally gaining momentum. 

31. According to a Swedish study, divorce increases the risk of alcohol use disorder. 

(Goldberg Jones)

Although men are two times more likely to binge drink than men, this study on alcoholism and divorce facts shows that after a divorce, women are seven times more susceptible to developing an AUD, while men are only six times more at risk.

For those who’ve already suffered from AUD in the past, a divorce might cause them to relapse. 

Conclusion

Without any doubt, alcoholism is one of the biggest problems in our society. It affects both the physical and mental health of a huge number of people, and it is one of the leading preventable diseases of our time.  If the current trend continues, alcohol use disorder might soon top the list. 

Its impact is often difficult to measure, since even in countries where alcohol is illegal, people still try to get a hold of it. The exact data could be even worse than we think. 

The World Health Organization, in conjunction with governments and non-governmental agencies, continues its work on raising awareness about the danger of excessive alcohol consumption.

Alcoholism statistics around the world, regardless of the method they use, undoubtedly show that the situation is getting worse. A new approach to this problem is, therefore, something that’s desperately needed. 

FAQ

Nowadays, alcohol abuse is quite common. About 18% of people reported they had excessively drank alcohol at least once in their lifetime, and about 5% had done so in the last 12 months.

However, aside from looking at alcohol abuse statistics, it’s also very important to know how we define alcohol abuse. The World Health Organization says you are abusing alcohol if: 

  • You consume 7 drinks a week or more than 3 drinks per drinking session (for women).
  • You consume more than 14 drinks a week or more than 4 drinks per drinking session (for men).
  • You drink 7 drinks a week or more than 3 drinks per session (for people above 65).
  • You consume less than the mentioned amount, but it affects your relationships, health, and causes legal problems. 

That would depend on the way we measure it. If we are talking about the level of alcohol consumption per capita per year, Belarus holds the infamous first place with approximately 18 liters of pure alcohol.

However, if we look at the percentage of adults who have drunk excessively in the past month, alcoholism facts show that the highest is Austria. 

Also, some statistics consider a series of other factors, such as the relationship between crime and alcohol, frequency of alcohol consumption, and cultural, regional, and economic predestination. Consequently, their results could differ significantly. 

According to the latest findings of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, men who were hospitalized with alcohol use disorder die between the ages of 47 and 53, while women die between the ages of 50 and 58. On average, alcoholics die 24-28 years earlier than healthy people. 

Younger men are the group that’s most likely to engage in heavy drinking. About 39% of men between the ages of 18 and 29 reported drinking large amounts of alcohol in the last six months. To make matters worse, they are also the most frequent victims of alcohol-related traffic accidents. 

The most recent findings done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that approximately 5.8% of American adults suffer from alcohol use disorder. In a majority of countries in the developed world, the percentage of alcoholics is about 5%.

It may not seem like a lot when you look at it as a percentage, but in the US, 5.8% means that 18 million adults have an alcohol use disorder. 

The latest estimate is that there are about 15 million people who have an alcohol use disorder in the United States. Unfortunately, according to alcoholism recovery statistics, less than 10% of them are likely to receive the necessary treatment.

We could, therefore, conclude that roughly a million people will receive or are receiving treatment in the United States, and a part of them will spend some time in rehabilitation centers.

Alcohol kills approximately 2.8 million people across the globe each year. In some cases, excessive alcohol consumption is only one of the contributing factors, while in others, it is the direct cause of death. Global statistics show that this number is going to increase significantly over the next 10 years. 

While people who work in recreation and hospitality industries have the highest rates of drug abuse, mining and construction professionals have the highest rates of alcohol abuse.

Additionally, recent statistics have proven that people who have manual jobs that are physically demanding are more likely to drink alcohol while at work. 

By far, the most frequent alcohol-related crime is drinking and driving. However, heavy drinkers regularly commit a whole host of other crimes.

Some of the most common criminal activities associated with alcoholism are robbery, sexual assault, aggravated assault, child molestation, and homicide.

On top of that, according to recent alcoholism statistics, heavy drinkers are two times more likely to physically abuse their marital partners and children than individuals who don’t drink.