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

Employed Australians are most likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury. Australians who are not in the labour force are least likely to drink alcohol at these levels.

13% of employed Australians abstain from alcohol; 39% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 14% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis, 16% do so on a monthly basis, and 18% do so on a weekly basis. 28% of unemployed Australians abstain from alcohol; 30% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 11% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis, 14% do so on a monthly basis; and 17% do so on a weekly basis. 31% of Australians not in the labour force, abstain from alcohol; 46% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 8% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 7% do so on a monthly basis; and 8% do so on a weekly basis.

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.

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

Short-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related Injury: An individual’s risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm on a single occasion of drinking, e.g. from alcohol-related accident or injury. Current Australian alcohol guidelines state that drinking five or more standard drinks on any single occasion significantly increases short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

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

Unemployed: Not currently working and actively seeking employment.