Are male or female Australians aged 12-17 years more likely to drink alcohol?

Among Australian youth aged 12-17 years, boys and girls are approximately equally likely to drink alcohol.

82% of male and 79% of female Australians aged 12-17 years abstain from alcohol. 12% of male and 13% of female Australians aged 12-17 years drink yearly. 6% of male and 7% of female Australians aged 12-17 years drink monthly. 1%* of male and 1%* of female Australians aged 12-17 years drink weekly. * Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

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.

Please note: The proportion of ‘abstainers’ among young people in the general population differs from the proportion of school students who have ‘never consumed’ alcohol due to the use of different survey measures. In the secondary students’ survey (ASSAD), those who have never consumed alcohol are defined as those who had not had even a sip of an alcoholic drink in their lifetime. In the general population survey (NDSHS), abstainers are those who have never had a full serve of alcohol.

Proportions of young people in the general population who drink yearly, monthly, or weekly also differ from proportions of school students drinking yearly, monthly, or weekly due to differences in survey measures. The ASSADS measure indicates any alcohol use (even one drink) and the proportions overlap.  The NDSHS measure indicates usual drinking frequency over the past 12 months and proportions do not overlap.