About Surveys on Alcohol Use in the United States

At a glance

CDC and other public health agencies use surveys to study alcohol use, drinking patterns, and health risks in the United States. This page describes these surveys and the data they collect.

CDC-sponsored surveys

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) — World's largest telephone survey that asks questions about health behaviors, chronic diseases, and preventive health practices among non-institutionalized adults in the U.S.
    • This survey collects state-level data on current alcohol use; number of drinking days; average number of drinks per occasion; maximum number of drinks consumed per drinking occasion; and frequency of binge drinking.
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) — Asks questions about health-risk behaviors among high school students at national, state, and local levels.
    • This survey collects data every other year from U.S. students, including age at first drink of alcohol; frequency of drinking; frequency of binge drinking; and drinking related to other behaviors, such as driving.
  • National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) — Asks questions about the health of non-institutionalized adults and children in the U.S.
    • This survey collects information on a broad range of health topics, like current alcohol use and binge drinking among adults.
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) — Collects health and nutrition data through interviews and health exams of non-institutionalized U.S. adults and children.
    • This survey gathers data on lifetime alcohol use, current alcohol use, and binge drinking.
  • Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) — Collects state-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences among women 2 to 6 months after having a live birth.
    • This survey collects information on alcohol consumption and pregnancy.

Other national surveys

  • National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) — Gathers information on mental health and alcohol and other substance use from non-institutionalized persons 12 and older.
    • This survey collects data on the use of alcohol and illicit drugs; symptoms of substance use disorders; and use of alcohol and drug treatments.
  • Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey — Collects data from adolescents, college students, and adults in the United States on their beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes towards substance use.
    • This survey gathers data from students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades about alcohol and other substance use. It also sends follow-up questionnaires to some people 19 and older.
  • Alcohol Epidemiologic Data Directory — List of national and special population surveys and data for studying alcohol consumption.
  • National Alcohol Surveys (NAS) — Provide data gathered from U.S. adults 18 and older. Data are gathered about every 5 years.
    • This survey collects information on the relationship between drinking patterns and specific problems. It also gathers data on risk and protective factors such as drug use, disability, poverty, resilience, and access to services.