Are younger or older Australian employees more likely to drink at levels that increase their long-term risk of alcohol-related disease or injury?

Employed Australians aged 25-29 years and 40-59 years are the age groups most likely to drink alcohol at levels that increase their long-term risk of alcohol-related disease or injury.

38% of employed Australians aged 14-17 years abstain from alcohol; 56% drink at low risk levels (an average of two or less drinks per day); 6%** drink at risky levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 3-4 drinks per day); and 0% drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of five or more drinks per day). 11% of employed Australians aged 18-24 years abstain from alcohol; 67% drink at low risk levels (an average of two or less drinks per day); 15% drink at risky levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 3-4 drinks per day); and 6% drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of five or more drinks per day). 14% of employed Australians aged 25-29 years abstain from alcohol; 64% drink at low risk levels (an average of two or less drinks per day); 15% drink at risky levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 3-4 drinks per day); and 7% drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of five or more drinks per day). 13% of employed Australians aged 30-39 years abstain from alcohol; 67% drink at low risk levels (an average of two or less drinks per day); 13% drink at risky levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 3-4 drinks per day); and 7% drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of five or more drinks per day). 12% of employed Australians aged 40-49 years abstain from alcohol; 66% drink at low risk levels (an average of two or less drinks per day); 13% drink at risky levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 3-4 drinks per day); and 9% drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of five or more drinks per day). 12% of employed Australians aged 50-59 years abstain from alcohol; 66% drink at low risk levels (an average of two or less drinks per day); 13% drink at risky levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 3-4 drinks per day); and 9% drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of five or more drinks per day). 14% of employed Australians aged 60-69 years abstain from alcohol; 66% drink at low risk levels (an average of two or less drinks per day); 11% drink at risky levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 3-4 drinks per day); and 10% drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of five or more drinks per day). 24% of employed Australians aged 70+ years abstain from alcohol; 62% drink at low risk levels (an average of two or less drinks per day); 8% drink at risky levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 3-4 drinks per day); and 7%* drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of five or more drinks per day). * Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution. ** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2018).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding. All measures of alcohol drinks refer to standard drinks.

Employed: Self-employed or working for salary or wages.

Long-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related Disease or Injury: Current Australian alcohol guidelines state that long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury increases when you consume an average of three or more standard drinks per day.

Standard Drink: A drink that contains 10 grams (or 12.5 millilitres) of alcohol.