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35 Sobering Alcoholism Statistics and Facts for 2021

written by / January 9, 2021

The alcoholism statistics show that this disease can affect anyone, irrespective of race, religion, or country. It’s easy to get caught up in the appeal of alcohol—it’s offered at almost every event or occasion. 

This can make everyone forget that alcohol is a drug. A lot of people get carried away and drink too much. This may be an indication of alcoholism, a medical condition that makes it difficult to live a healthy life.

With this in mind, we compiled these alcoholism facts, hard data, and statistics to help people be more aware of the dangers of alcohol.

Disturbing Stats and Facts about Alcohol

  • Alcohol sales increased by 54% in the week ending 21 March 2020 due to stay-at-home orders. 
  • Alcohol-related deaths rose by 43% between 2006 and 2018. 
  • 86.4% of adults admit to drinking alcohol at least once in their lifetimes.
  • 80% of college students consume alcohol.
  • 15.1 million adults in the US aged 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder.
  • Over 10% of kids in the US live with a parent that has alcohol issues.
  • 33.1% of 15-year-olds report having had at least one drink so far in their lifetime.
  • Drinking and driving accounts for over 30% of all driving deaths a year.
  • More than 65 million Americans reported binge drinking within a month of being surveyed.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous mentions a success rate of 50%, with 25% staying sober after some relapses.

General Alcoholism Statistics

Alcoholism Statistics - Featured

In this section, we’ll be looking at general stats and facts related to alcoholism. 

1. Alcohol sales increased by 54% in the week ending 21 March 2020 due to stay-at-home orders. 

(JAMA Network)

Due to Covid-19, a stay-at-home order was issued in the United States. In that week, alcohol sales reached a record high. The above percentage is in comparison with the same week in 2019. Due to Covid-19 and many people staying at home, we might see a drastic change in alcoholism statistics for 2021

2. 1 in 8 American adults fulfills the criteria for having an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

(Healthline)

An alcohol use disorder can be fatal due to liver diseases and other complications. There are also reports that alcohol is by far the most misused addictive substance, with up to 12.7% of American adults suffering from one.

3. Alcohol-related deaths rose by 43% between 2006 and 2018. 

(CDC)

In 2006, alcohol caused 10.7 per 100,000 deaths of people over the age of 25. In 2018, that number was 15.3 per 100,000. 

4. 86.4% of adults admit to drinking alcohol at least once in their lifetimes.

(Evergreen)

This and several of the following alcohol use statistics are from a comprehensive survey carried out in 2015 called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). It shows that a large number of people have consumed alcohol during at least one stage of their lives.

5. Teenagers who start drinking before the age of 15 have a higher probability of alcohol dependence.

(DoSomething)

These teenage alcohol abuse statistics show that underage drinking should be prevented by any means to prevent the development of alcohol dependence in adulthood.

6. 56% of American adults indicated that they’d had a drink within the last month.

(Evergreen)

70.1% of those surveyed also stated that they’d had a drink within the last year, according to the NSDUH.

7. The minimum legal drinking age ranges from 16 to 21 in most countries around the world.

(ProCon.org)

The alcohol facts and statistics tell us that in 116 countries, the minimum legal drinking age falls at 18–19, making it the most common age range. 19 countries don’t have any minimum legal drinking age, while alcohol is banned in 16 countries, most of which are Muslim countries.

College Alcohol Statistics

College is a time of experimentation when many adolescents start drinking for the first time in their lives. Here, we’ll be looking at alcohol during college years. 

8. 80% of college students consume alcohol.

(Alcohol Rehab Guide)

This means that 4 out of 5 college students drink alcohol to some degree. This doesn’t imply they’re all alcoholics; it just shows the number of students who aren’t opposed to drinking. Nevertheless, college alcoholism affects millions of students around the country yearly according to the alcohol stats.

9. 50% of the college students who drink also binge drink.

(Alcohol Rehab Guide)

Binge drinking refers to consuming large amounts of alcohol in quick intervals. These facts show that half of the students who consume alcohol in college drink way too much. This can generally be attributed to the number of parties held in college. Binge-drinking largely contributes to the college alcoholism statistics we have available today. 

10. Students are exposed to binge drinking the most during the first six weeks of their freshman year.

(College Drinking Prevention)

The alcohol abuse facts show that some students start drinking on the first day of school, presumably as a result of peer pressure. In this case, students will keep drinking throughout their college careers without thinking about the consequences.

11. Almost 150,000 college students develop an alcohol-related health problem each year.

(Ohio University)

This is a direct result of heavy drinking. The complications vary and may include high blood pressure, pancreas inflammation, or liver damage. 

Interesting Facts About Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

In this section, we’ll be focusing on Alcohol Use Disorder and how it affects people. 

12. 15.1 million adults in the US aged 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder.

(Alcohol Addiction Center)

This amounts to 6.2% of the total population, which includes 5.3 million women and 9.8 million men. These numbers amount to 8.4% of men and 4.2% of women.

13. 6.7% of all the adults with AUD in 2015 received treatment.

(NIAAA)

These alcoholism recovery statistics show that some people are willing to get treatment for it, but a large percentage (93.3%) of the population with AUD didn’t seek out treatment. Among those aged 18 and up, this accounts for 7.4% of men and 5.4% of women.

14. A considerable number of adolescents aged 12–17 had AUD in 2015.

(NIAAA)

Reports show that 623,000 teenagers had AUD, including 298,000 young men and 325,000 young women. These values amount to 2.3% of the boys and 2.7% of the girls in this age bracket. These teen alcoholism statistics were retrieved from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Global Alcohol Statistics

Here, we’ll be looking at alcoholism throughout the world. 

15. Alcohol is a major contributor to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions.

(Alcohol Action Ireland)

The World Health Organization released a report on alcohol and health in 2014 revealing that alcohol influenced over 200 health conditions and diseases with an emphasis on cancers, liver cirrhosis, injuries, and DSM-IV alcohol dependence. The report covering these alcohol and cancer statistics also states that as of 2012, 5.1% of the burden of injury and disease all around the world was associated with alcohol consumption.

16. Over 10% of kids in the US live with a parent that has alcohol issues.

(NIAAA)

The condition can negatively affect children and even split the family, according to alcohol addiction statistics.

17. Globally, alcohol abuse was the fifth major risk factor in 2010 for disability and premature death.

(Movendi International)

This stat also shows that among individuals between the ages of 15 and 49, it’s the first risk factor for disability and premature death. About 25% of the total deaths occur among those between the ages of 20 and 39.

18. 33.1% of 15-year-olds report having had at least one drink so far in their lifetime.

(NIAAA)

These alcoholism statistics come from the 2015 NSDUH study, which also states that about 7.7 million individuals aged 12–20 reported drinking alcohol within a month of being surveyed (which accounts for 19.8% of men and 20.8% of women).

19. Drinking and driving accounts for over 30% of all driving deaths a year.

(Talbott Recovery)

This is one of the stats on alcohol proving that people need to be educated on the dangerous consequences that come with drinking and driving.

20. More than 15 million individuals in the US struggle with alcohol use.

(Addiction Center)

These statistics show that addiction is a problem for a large population of people, but less than 8% of them receive treatment for the condition.

21. More than 65 million Americans report binge drinking within a month of being surveyed.

(Talbott Recovery)

Of those regularly drinking alcohol, the facts show that this number comprises more than 40% of them.

22. Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 individuals annually.

(HuffPost)

This accounts for more than all the deaths caused by illegal drugs. In addition, it’s estimated that drunk driving costs the US more than $199 billion yearly.

Alcoholism in Women

Alcoholism Statistics - Women

In this section, we’ll be exploring how alcoholism relates to gender, in this case, specifically women. 

23. More than 5.3 million adult women have an alcohol use disorder.

(Talbott Recovery)

These statistics on alcohol were provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. That’s a lot of people living with this disorder, and steps need to be taken to reduce the number.

24. About 45% of adult women report having drunk alcohol within a month of being surveyed.

(Talbott Recovery)

In addition, women who engage in binge drinking have a higher probability of having sex without protection, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome statistics also show that this increases the risk of the child developing a birth defect.

25. About 1 in 2 females of childbearing age drink.

(CDC)

There can be dangerous results for the baby if the mother drinks while pregnant and continues to do so—either unknowingly or intentionally. Additional drug and alcohol statistics show that 18% of females in this age group binge drink (usually five drinks at once on average). Worse, excessive drinking can have other negative effects on a woman’s reproductive health. For example, it can disrupt the menstrual cycle and even lead to infertility.

26. The fetal alcohol syndrome facts indicate that 3 children out of 10,000 have this condition, according to a study focusing on children aged 7 to 9 years.

(CDC)

And we already know that these same children have a greater risk of developing severe physical and mental birth defects.

27. Alcohol-related deaths among women rose 76% from 2000 to 2018. 

(CDC)

In 2000, alcohol was the cause of 4.9 deaths per 100,000 deaths in women over the age of 25. In 2018, that number was 8.6 out of every 100,000 deaths. 

Alcohol and Sleep Statistics

How does alcohol affect sleep? Here, we’ll answer this question and more. 

28. About 20% of the adult population in the US drinks alcohol as a way to fall asleep.

(PsychCentral)

According to these alcohol facts and statistics, many people drink alcohol before bed. In reality, alcohol is a strong somnogen (or sleep inducer). Scientists led by Mahesh Thakkar, Ph.D., have been studying the impacts of alcohol on sleep for over five years. They discovered that alcohol interferes with the brain’s ability to regulate a person’s need for sleep.

29. The collective risk of obstructive sleep apnea in individuals who consume alcohol increased by 25%.

(NCBI)

These alcohol facts were determined thanks to a pooled assessment of 21 studies in which comparative hazards were estimated. The results revealed that the general risk of obstructive sleep apnea rose by 25% among individuals who drank alcohol to a greater degree than people who consume low quantities of alcohol or none at all.

Alcohol and Sleep Deprivation Statistics

How are alcohol and insomnia related? Read on to find out. 

30. Patients in alcohol therapy reported insomnia rates of 25%–72%.

(NCBI)

The level of sleep disruption is greater among the majority of patients with diagnosed alcohol dependence. However, differing definitions and measurements of insomnia and alcohol reliance make it hard to compare these studies.

31. 7% of people with insomnia report alcohol abuse.

(NCBI)

The alcohol consumption statistics leading to this discovery are according to the epidemiological research from a large community sample. This statistic clearly shows the effects of alcohol on the body. The research also demonstrates how sleep disruption for at least two weeks can be a big risk factor for alcohol use disorders.

Alcohol and REM Sleep Statistics

Alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep. The following statistics show how. 

32. 27 studies from a 2013 review show that alcohol use is a contributing factor to poor quality sleep.

(MedicalNewsToday)

This is one of the reasons people don’t get the right kind of sleep after drinking alcohol. This is because alcohol prevents REM sleep, which is often deemed the most restorative form of sleep. You’re likely to wake up feeling unfocused and groggy with poor REM sleep. Therefore, if you suffer from insomnia, it’s a much better idea to turn to natural sleep aids, such as melatonin.

33. The statistics about alcohol indicate that 40% of US citizens with PTSD have symptoms of an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

(Alcohol Rehab Guide)

PTSD victims have a higher chance of developing alcoholism as a way to self-medicate. The seriousness and type of PTSD symptoms that they suffer contribute to their alcohol addiction.

Statistics on AA Meetings 

Alcoholism Statistics - Myths

Many people who suffer from alcoholism find help with Alcoholics Anonymous. Here, we will take a closer look at AA. 

34. Alcoholics Anonymous mentions a success rate of 50%, with 25% staying sober after some relapses.

(Alcohol.org)

The alcohol relapse statistics since AA itself provides many of the group’s published success rates. However, because some participants choose to stay anonymous or don’t want to admit to a recurrence, there isn’t enough impartial information to assess these rates.

35. About 10% of the individuals who join a 12-step program report long-term recovery.

(Alcohol.org)

This is according to research published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). However, participants also tend to drop out at a rate of 40% during their first year, causing group participation to alter frequently.

Conclusion

Drinking is often expected on certain social occasions, and even some red wine has some health benefits. However, consuming too much alcohol can be dangerous for your health. These alcoholism statistics should help you become more conscious of the hazards, demonstrating why it’s best to drink alcohol in moderation.

In Moldova, the alcohol rate is 4.81 gallons per person (or 18.2 liters). This is according to a 2011 report by the WHO, which also states that consumption levels are usually highest in the developed globe, and abstention rates are usually highest in nations with large Muslim communities. The study examined the consumption of different types of alcohol, including spirits, beer, and wine.

(CBS News)

FAQs

How many people are alcoholics?

In 2019, around 14.1 million people in the United States admitted to suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder. 8.9 million of these people were men and 5.2 million were women. This shows the vastness of this problem in America. 

(National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)

What percentage of drinkers are alcoholics?

Of the US adults who overdrink, only 10% are alcoholics. This is from a CDC study that broke down self-reported data acquired from more than 138,100 adults in the US. The study verified that 90% of heavy drinkers fell short of the standard requirements for alcoholism. Women who have eight or more drinks a week and men who drink fifteen or more are considered heavy drinkers.

(Reuters)

What percentage of alcoholics die from alcoholism?

In 2012, 5.9% of all deaths were related to alcohol in some way. More specifically, 7.6% of those who suffered a fatality were men, and 4.1% were women. These stats also show that there were 3.3 million deaths around the world with a connection to alcohol. 

(WHO)

What country has the highest alcoholism rate?

Belarus consumes 17.5 liters of pure alcohol per person. Studying the amount of pure alcohol gives a clearer picture than studying the overall number of drinks. This statistic lists Belarus as the country that consumes the most liters of pure alcohol per capita. According to the statistics, the countries that follow after Belarus are Moldova, Lithuania, and Russia with 16.8, 15.4, and 15.1 liters, respectively.

(WorldAtlas)

How many drinks a day is considered what an alcoholic would drink?

Consuming more than four drinks for men and more than three drinks for women is heavy drinking. About a quarter of the individuals who exceed these boundaries have an alcohol use disorder. Even so, the remainder is in greater danger of developing an AUD or related issue. Individual risks also differ. Some people may have issues drinking less than these quantities, especially if they drink too fast.

(NIAAA)

How many die from alcohol annually?

From 2006 to 2010, alcoholism led to 88,000 deaths in the United States a year. This study also claims that their lives were shortened by an average of 30 years. Also, excessive drinking among working adults from the ages of 20 to 64 years was responsible for every one fatality out of 10.

(CDC)

How do people die from alcohol?

Over 3 million individuals died in 2016 as a consequence of damaging alcohol use. When it comes to the effects of alcohol, 28% of all alcohol-related fatalities resulted from injuries like traffic accidents, self-harm, and interpersonal violence; 21% from digestive disorders; 19% from cardiac illnesses; and the rest from infectious illnesses, cancers, mental illnesses, and other health conditions.

(WHO)

Is alcoholism genetic?

Genetics is the underlying cause of alcohol use disorder 50% of the time. A history of substance abuse in the family points to a person being more likely to struggle with issues relating to alcohol. The researcher also found that genetic factors represent 40%–60% of the difference between individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder.

(American Addiction Centers)

Who drinks the most alcohol?

Men drink more alcohol than women by 11.1%. According to a survey by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 57.6% of men 12 years and older and 46.5% of women aged 12 years and older reported consuming a minimum of one alcoholic drink within 30 days of being surveyed.

(TheDailyBeast)

What do alcoholics die of?

It was discovered that alcohol contributes to at least 60 different health conditions. Alcohol is one of America’s major causes of preventable death. Other deaths associated with alcohol are more immediate and include drunk driving and violence involving alcohol. More individuals die from drug overdoses than from alcohol, as shown in most alcohol poisoning facts. Additionally, a tiny proportion of all alcohol-related fatalities are due to actually overdrinking. Most alcoholics die of alcohol-related long-term health issues such as liver disease, heart problems, or cancer.

(Alcohol Rehab Guide)

Put simply, what’s the drunkest country?

In Moldova, the alcohol rate is 4.81 gallons per person (or 18.2 liters). This is according to a 2011 report by the WHO, which also states that consumption levels are usually highest in the developed globe, and abstention rates are usually highest in nations with large Muslim communities. The study examined the consumption of different types of alcohol, including spirits, beer, and wine.

(CBS News)

What ethnicity drinks the most alcohol?

Native Americans are at a greater risk of drinking heavily, at 12.1%. This statistic is followed by white people (8.3%) and Hispanics (6.1%). A higher proportion of Native Americans (29.6%) also binge drink, with slightly reduced percentages for whites (25.9%), Hispanics (25.6%), and black people (21.4%).

(NIAAA)

What state has the highest rate of alcoholism?

According to the latest alcoholism statistics, New Hampshire is the state with the highest alcohol consumption rate in the United States. Namely, residents of this state consume 4.67 gallons of ethanol per capita.

(Statista)

Sources