British Alcohol Consumption Has Hit a 12-Year Low

According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of adults who drink regularly dropped from 64.2 percent in 2005 to 56.9 percent in 2016.

by Daisy Meager
05 May 2017, 1:22pm

Photo via Flickr user Daniel Lee

It can be hard to keep track of exactly how much you drink during an average week. You might have the odd one (or was it two?) glasses of wine with dinner on Tuesday and it would be unthinkable to do a Thursday Spoons Curry Club sans Cobra. Then there are after-work drinks on a Friday, which means at least one pint (and all those ill-advised Jägerbombs.)

You might not have been counting, but the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has.

Earlier this week, the ONS released the results of its annual survey on adult drinking habits, which shows just how much Britain has knocked back over the last year. Spoiler: it's not as bad as you might think.

The survey revealed that Britain's alcohol consumption has actually fallen to its lowest level since 2005. Of the 8,000 adults questioned by the ONS, only 56.9 percent said that they drink alcohol regularly, compared to 64.2 percent in 2005. In addition to this, the number of people who identify as teetotal has risen by 2 percent since 2005 to 20.9 percent—equivalent to 10.6 million people.

While the ONS found drinking had decreased across all age groups, its survey reflected previous studies in showing that alcohol consumption among young people is lower than those in higher age brackets. Less than half (46 percent) of 16 to 24-year-olds reported drinking in the week prior to answering the survey. Those hitting middle age, however, hit the bottle more often—64.2 percent of 45 to 65-year-olds said they'd had a drink the week before the survey.

But don't assume that the livers of kids these days are squeaky clean. The survey found that when 16 to 24-year-olds had their heaviest drinking day, they went hard. Young people were nearly four times more likely to binge drink (defined by the ONS as having eight units for men and six units for women over a single boozing session), than drinkers over 65.

Those pesky kids.

Office for National Statistics
drinking habits
alcohol consumption