How Much Does the Average Person Drink a Week?
Did you hesitate the last time your doctor asked you how many drinks you have per week? Maybe you needed a moment to remember. Or, maybe you did remember, but you needed a moment to wonder whether or not the answer you were about to give would match your doctor’s expectations. How much alcohol does the average person drink each week, anyway?
Let’s Look at What the Stats Say
The perspective you might have of American drinking habits changes depending on what kind of statistic you look at. You could take the straight-up national average of 556 drinks per year – which comes out to about 10 or 11 drinks per week.
But There Are Differences to Consider
This number can be a little misleading, though; such is the nature of averages. Interestingly enough, thirty percent of American adults don’t drink at all. Another thirty percent on average consume less than one drink per week – maybe occasionally indulging in a sip of wine at a party or a celebratory shot. But the spectrum of American drinking is very wide. The top ten percent of American adults drink an average of seventy-four alcoholic beverages each week – that comes out to ten drinks per day! So the “national average” really describes only ten percent of Americans; most Americans are more likely to drink once or twice per week, instead of eleven times.
How much you drink changes based on your gender and age, too. The average man drinks more than the average woman, and the gap is widest in our twenties. Twenty-five-year-old men drink thirteen drinks per week, compared to the average twenty-five-year-old woman’s three drinks per week. On average, men and women alike drink less in their later decades than they did in the prime of their youth, though men still drink more than women.
How About on a Global Scale?
Of course, American drinking habits are not representative of the world as a whole. In fact, as surprising as it might seem, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States ranks around 48th among nations of the world when it comes to yearly alcohol consumption per person, behind countries like Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. At the very top of the list is Belarus, where people drink an average 17.5 liters of alcohol each year – which comes to a third of a liter, or about a cup and a half, per week.
For the United States, the WHO puts it at 9.2 liters of alcohol consumed per person per year, also known as three-fourths of a cup per week. (That’s cups as a unit of measurement, by the way, to avoid confusion when comparing beer mugs and shot glasses. The next time you’re in the kitchen, pick up a measuring cup and compare it to the size of your typical wine glass.)
What Does That Mean for You?
Ultimately, whether you are above or below average with how much you drink matters less than making sure that you are maintaining a drinking habit that best fits your health, lifestyle, and personal taste. There are many different kinds of drinks, as well as many different kinds of people!