Is the employment status of Australians related to drinking at levels that increase long-term risk of alcohol-related disease or injury?

Employment status is related to drinking at levels that increase long-term risk of alcohol-related disease or injury. Employed Australians are the group most likely to drink at levels that increase their long-term risk of alcohol-related disease or injury, while people who are not in the labour force are the least likely.

13% of employed Australians abstain from alcohol, compared to 28% of unemployed Australians and 31% of Australians not in the labour force. 65% of employed Australians drink at low risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 2 or less drinks per day), compared to 54% of unemployed Australians and 57% of Australians not in the labour force. 14% of employed Australians 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), compared to 10% of unemployed Australians and 8% of Australians not in the labour force. 9% of employed Australians drink at high risk levels associated with long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury (an average of 5 or more drinks per day), compared to 9% of unemployed Australians and 4% of Australians not in the labour force.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

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.

Employment Status: Whether an individual is currently: a) employed; b) unemployed; or c) not in the labour force.

Long-Term Risk of Harm from 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.

Not in the Labour Force: Engaged in home duties, volunteer/charity work, student, retiree/pensioner, other.

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

Unemployed: Not currently working and actively seeking employment.