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CDC Releases Report on Alcohol Use in the United States

For Release: September 21, 2001

Contact: NCHS/CDC Public Affairs, (301) 458-4800

E-mail: paoquery@cdc.gov

Alcohol Use Among Adults: United States, 1997-98. Advance Data No. 324. 20 pp. (PHS) 2001-1250. [PDF - 794 KB]
Companion Tables [PDF - 226 KB]

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, "Alcohol Use Among Adults: United States, 1997-98," establishes baseline estimates to track changes in alcohol use in the United States across a range of demographic factors. This allows alcohol consumption to be compared to other life style variables such as smoking, physical activity, and body weight

The report, based on a survey of more than 68,000 adults over a 2-year period, shows alcohol use among U.S. adults varies according to sex, age, income, education, race, ethnicity, and marital status.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Men (69%) were more likely than women (56%) to be current drinkers (persons who have had at least 12 drinks in their lifetime and at least one drink in the previous year).
  • Men (30%) were more likely than women (12%) to have had at least five drinks in 1 day during the past year and about four times more likely (15% versus 4%) to have had this amount on at least 12 days in the past year.
  • Adults aged 25-44 years (71%) were the most likely to be current drinkers.
  • Adults 75 years and older were the least likely to be current drinkers (36%)
  • White (72%) and Hispanic men (65%) were more likely than black (57%) or Asian/Pacific Islander men (58%) to be current drinkers.
  • White women (62%) were more likely to be current drinkers than any other group of women (black, 40%; Hispanic, 40%; and Asian/Pacific Islander, 31%).
  • About 1 in 5 adults (21%) had five or more drinks in 1 day during the past year.
  • For the first time, adults with a General Educational Development (GED) diploma were considered separately from those with a traditional high school diploma. GED recipients were more likely (26%) than any other education group to have had five or more drinks in 1 day during the past year.
  • Men (6%) were more likely than women (4%) to be classified as heavier drinkers.
  • Cohabiting adults (9%) were more likely to be heavier drinkers (i.e. more than 14 drinks per week for men or more than seven drinks per week for women) than married adults (4%).

These data come from the National Health Interview Survey, an annual, nationally representative household survey of more than 100,000 people. The report can be found on-line at the CDC web site.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

 
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