Drinking Statistics – How People Consume Alcohol

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Alcohol

Alcohol is a psychoactive chemical with addictive characteristics that has been widely utilized for ages in various cultures.

It’s a chemical compound found in alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and liquor. Some medicines, mouthwashes, home items, and essential oils (scented liquid taken from certain plants). contain it 

Fermentation, a chemical process involving sugars and yeast, is used in making it. Alcohol comes in a variety of forms. Ethyl alcohol is the type used to manufacture alcoholic beverages (ethanol).

Regular or heavy alcohol consumption raises the risk of some cancers, including cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, liver, colon, and rectum. Alcohol abuse has a significant social and economic impact on societies.

Various factors have been found at both the individual and social levels that influence alcohol consumption levels and behaviors, as well as the extent of alcohol-related issues in communities.

The vulnerabilities of the society could have differential effects similar to those produced in different societies for a given consumption level or habit. Although no single risk factor dominates, the more sensitive characteristics that converge in a person, the more likely that person may develop alcohol-related issues as a result of their drinking.

Factors Influencing Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Harm

The effects of alcohol intake on chronic and severe health outcomes in populations are mostly influenced by two distinct but related variables of alcohol consumption: The effects of alcohol intake on chronic and severe health outcomes in populations are mostly influenced by two distinct but related variables of alcohol consumption:

  • total volume consumed and
  • drinking behaviors.

The context of consumption, particularly those associated with the health impacts of alcohol intoxication, and, in rare cases, the quality of the alcohol ingested, play crucial roles in the occurrence of alcohol-related harm. Alcohol intake can have an impact not only on the occurrence of diseases, injuries, and other health problems but also on the progression of those problems and their outcomes.

There are inequalities between the sexes in terms of mortality and morbidity, as well as alcohol consumption levels and behaviors. Alcohol intake is responsible for 7.7% of all deaths among men, compared to 2.6 percent among women. In 2010, men consumed an average of 19.4 liters of pure alcohol per capita worldwide, while women consumed an average of 7 liters.


  • Alcohol consumers consume 33 g of pure alcohol per day on average, which is about comparable to two glasses of wine (150 ml each), a big bottle of beer (750 ml), or two glasses of spirits (40 ml each).
  • More than a quarter of 15-19-year-olds (27%) are heavy drinkers. Europe (44 percent), the Americas (38 percent), and the Western Pacific (38 percent) have the greatest rates of alcohol usage among 15-19-year-olds (38 percent). Alcohol usage begins before the age of 15 in many nations, according to school polls, with little difference between boys and girls.
  • Globally, 45% of total recorded alcohol is consumed in the form of spirits. Beer is the second alcoholic beverage in terms of pure alcohol consumed (34%), followed by wine (12%). Since 2010, there have only been minor changes in preferences for alcoholic beverages. The most important changes took place in Europe, where the consumption of spirits decreased by 3%, while that of wine and beer increased.
  • It is estimated that in the world there are 237 million men and 46 million women who suffer from alcohol use disorders. The highest prevalence among men and women is recorded in the European Region (14.8% and 3.5%) and the Region of the Americas (11.5% and 5.1%). Alcohol use disorders are more common in high-income countries.
  • While per capita alcohol consumption in the WHO African Region, Region of the Americans, and Eastern Mediterranean Region remained fairly stable, in the European Region it decreased from 12.3 liters in 2005 to 9.8 liters in 2016. The increase in alcohol consumption per capita is observed in the WHO regions of the Western Pacific and South-East Asia.

Fig 1 Total alcohol consumption per capita (15 years of age or older; in liters of pure alcohol), 2016.

  • A quarter (25.5%) of all alcohol consumed in the world is in the form of non-registered alcohol, that is, alcohol that is not counted in official statistics on alcohol sales or taxes, as it is generally produced, distributed, and sold outside of formal channels that are under government control.
  • The prevalence of binge drinking episodes (defined as 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion per month) has decreased globally from 22.6% in 2000 to 18.2% in 2016 in the total population, but remains high among drinkers, particularly in parts of Eastern Europe and some sub-Saharan African countries (over 60% among drinkers).


  • Fig 2 Total alcohol consumption per inhabitant (in liters of pure alcohol) and prevalence of episodes of excessive alcohol consumption (in %) in the total population aged 15 years or older and in drinkers (aged 15 years or older) by WHO region and in the world, 2016.
  • Worldwide and in all WHO regions, the prevalence of binge drinking is lower in adolescents (ages 15-19) than in the total population, but peaks at the age of 20 to 24 years, at which time it is greater than in the total population. Except for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, all prevalence rates of heavy drinking episodes in drinkers aged 15-24 years are higher than in the total population. Young people ages 15 to 24, when they are drinkers, often drink in binge drinking sessions. The prevalence of binge drinking episodes is particularly high in men.
  • In all WHO regions, fewer women are current users than men; and when they are, they drink less than men. Worldwide, the prevalence of alcohol use among women has decreased in most regions of the world except South-East Asia and the Western Pacific, but the absolute number of women who currently drink has increased globally.
  • The economic wealth of countries is associated with higher alcohol consumption and a higher prevalence of drinkers in all WHO regions. The prevalence of binge drinking among drinkers is fairly similar across most WHO regions for highest and lowest income countries, except for the African Region, where it is higher in lower-income countries compared to higher-income countries, and in the European Region, where, by contrast, the prevalence of binge drinking is lower in low-income countries than in high-income countries.
  • By 2025 total alcohol consumption per capita in persons aged 15 and over is projected to increase in the Americas, South-East Asia, and the Western Pacific. This is unlikely to be offset by a significant decline in consumption in the other regions. As a result, total alcohol consumption per capita in the world may rise to 6.6 liters in 2020 and 7.0 liters in 2025, unless projected upward trends in alcohol consumption in the world are halted and reversed. Americas Region and in South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions.


  • In 2016, the harmful use of alcohol caused an estimated 3 million deaths (5.3% of all deaths) worldwide and 132.6 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), or, 5.1% of all DALYs for that year. Mortality resulting from alcohol consumption is higher than that caused by diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes. In 2016, an estimated 2.3 million deaths and 106.5 million DALYs in men are attributed to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. However, women had 0.7 million deaths and 26.1 million DALYs attributable to alcohol consumption.
  • The age-standardized burden of disease and injuries attributable to alcohol was higher in the WHO African Region, while percentages of all deaths and DALYs attributable to alcohol consumption were higher in the WHO African Region. WHO Europe (10.1% of all deaths and 10.8% of all DALYs), followed by the Region of the Americas (5.5% of deaths and 6.7% of DALYs).
  • In 2016, of all deaths attributable to alcohol consumption worldwide, 28.7% were due to injuries, 21.3% to digestive diseases, 19% to cardiovascular diseases, 12.9% to infectious diseases and 12.6% to cancers. About 49% of alcohol-attributable DALYs are due to noncommunicable diseases and mental health disorders, and about 40% are due to injuries.


Fig 3 Percentage (%) of alcohol-attributable deaths, as a percentage of all alcohol-attributable deaths, by broad disease category, 2016.


Fig 4 Distribution of alcohol-attributable disease burden, as a percentage (%) of total alcohol-attributable disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), by broad disease category, 2016

  • Worldwide, alcohol was the cause of 7.2% of premature mortality (in people aged 69 and under) in 2016. Younger people were disproportionately affected by alcohol compared to older people. older, and 13.5% of deaths among those between the ages of 20 and 39 are attributed to alcohol.
  • Alcohol caused 0.4 million of the 11 million deaths that occurred worldwide in 2016 as a result of communicable diseases, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional conditions, which represents 3.5% of these deaths.
  • Harmful use of alcohol caused approximately 1.7 million deaths from noncommunicable diseases in 2016, including approximately 1.2 million deaths from digestive and cardiovascular diseases (0.6 million each) and 0.4 million deaths from cancer. Globally, an estimated one million deaths from injuries were attributable to alcohol, including about 370,000 deaths from road traffic injuries, 150,000 from self-harm, and about 90,000 from interpersonal violence. Of road traffic injuries, 187,000 alcohol-attributable deaths occurred in people other than drivers.
  • In 2016, the main factors contributing to the burden of mortality and DALYs attributable to alcohol in men were injuries, digestive diseases, and alcohol use disorders, while in women they were cardiovascular diseases, digestive diseases, and trauma.
  • There are significant differences between the sexes in the prevalence of alcohol use disorders in the past 12 months. Globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol use disorders, with the highest prevalence of these disorders in men and women in the European Region (14.8% and 3 .5%) and the Region of the Americas (11.5% and 5.1%). Alcohol use disorders are more common in high-income countries.

In 2016, the burden of disease attributable to alcohol was higher in low-income and lower-middle-income countries compared to upper-middle-income and high-income countries.

Fig 5 Alcohol-attributable disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), by country and global income, 2016


  • The proportion of alcohol-attributable deaths out of total deaths decreased slightly between 2010 (5.6%) and 2016 (5.1%), but the proportion of DALYs attributable to alcohol remained relatively stable (5.3 % of all DALYs in 2010 and 2016). 

Detailed Statistics On Global Alcohol Consumption Can Be Read Here: