WASHINGTON, D.C. — Young adults in the U.S. have become progressively less likely to use alcohol over the past two decades, with the percentages of 18- to 34-year-olds saying they ever drink, that they drank in the past week and that they sometimes drink more than they should all lower today. At the same time, drinking on all three metrics has trended up among older Americans while holding fairly steady among middle-aged adults.

These findings come from an analysis of Gallup trends on Americans’ self-reports of their alcohol drinking habits. To allow for reliable analysis of the trends by age, the data are reviewed in three three-year time periods: 2001-2003, 2011-2013 and 2021-2023.

Young Adults Now Vie With Elders for Lowest Drinking Rate

Gallup’s long-term measure of alcohol consumption asks U.S. adults whether they “ever have occasion to use alcoholic beverages.” While the national average has been steady in the low 60% range for over 40 years, the age trends reviewed for this report show that the rate has declined 10 percentage points over the past two decades among younger adults, aged 18 to 34, […]

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