While there can be a lot of negativity surrounding Australia’s drinking culture, studies seem to be pointing towards an improvement in drinking trends throughout the country.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Aussies as a whole are doing less risky drinking than they were in the past. These statistics show that more than four out of five Australians ingest less than two standard drinks per day. It appears the number of people consuming more than two standards a day is in decline, as it stood at 19.5 per cent in 2011-12, compared to 15.2 per cent in 2020-21.
These statistics seem to reflect an overall trend of improved drinking habits found in other studies and surveys. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019 found that 83.2 per cent of people surveyed were either drinking moderately or abstaining from drinking altogether. This shows a 4.2 per cent improvement on the same study conducted in 2001.
It appears that younger people are leading the way for healthy drinking habits.
“In 2019, the proportion of people aged 18 and over abstaining from alcohol increased, from 19.5 per cent to 21 percent,” the report states.
“Younger age groups drove this increase, in particular those aged 25–29 (from 19.0 per cent in 2016 to 24 per cent in 2019) and 30–39 (16.6 per cent to 22 per cent).”
This decrease in drinking amongst young people seems to be reflected in the ABS information. The ABS found that just one in ten (10.1 per cent) of adults aged 18-24 drank in excess of two drinks a day. Compare this to one in five (20 per cent) of Australian adults aged 55-64 years.
A 2017 comparative study commissioned by DrinkWise called Australian Drinking Habits: 2007 vs 2017 found that the number of Australians “usually” consuming five or more standard drinks dropped to 16 per cent in 2017 from 24 per cent in 2007. This study also found that 20 per cent of Australians abstained from alcohol, up from 11 per cent in 2007.
This study also found that the percentage of Australians who drink daily fell from 9 per cent in 2007 to 6 per cent in 2017, and the percentage of those who drink weekly fell from 47 per cent in 2007 to 37 per cent in 2017.
Andrew Wilsmore, the CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia says these days Australians are thinking more about how they drink.
“Australians are making conscious decisions to moderate and drink responsibly, with big trends during Covid seeing Australians choosing to drink less, but spending more on a premium product, or exploring low and zero-alcohol products,” he says.
“It’s a strong message to those who want to regulate drinkers ever further. Australians are doing the right thing by drinking responsibly and at the same time backing an industry that supports the livelihoods of 485,000 people and generates $52 billion in economic value.”
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