Do younger or older Australians drink more alcohol?

The quantity of alcohol usually consumed on a single occasion of drinking differs by age group. Australians aged 18-24 years generally drink more standard drinks on a single occasion than any other age group. Those aged 70 years and over are most likely to drink 2 or less standard drinks.

63% of Australians aged 14-17 years abstain from alcohol; 15% consume 2 or less standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking; 8% consume 3-4 standard drinks; 4% consume 5-6 standard drinks; 6% consume 7-10 standard drinks; 2% consume 11-12 standard drinks; and 2% consume 13 or more standard drinks. 18% of Australians aged 18-24 years abstain from alcohol; 21% consume 2 or less standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking; 19% consume 3-4 standard drinks; 14% consume 5-6 standard drinks; 17% consume 7-10 standard drinks; 4% consume 11-12 standard drinks; and 8% consume 13 or more standard drinks. 18% of Australians aged 25-29 years abstain from alcohol; 33% consume 2 or less standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking; 23% consume 3-4 standard drinks; 11% consume 5-6 standard drinks; 10% consume 7-10 standard drinks; 2% consume 11-12 standard drinks; and 4% consume 13 or more standard drinks. 18% of Australians aged 30-39 years abstain from alcohol; 40% consume 2 or less standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking; 21% consume 3-4 standard drinks; 9% consume 5-6 standard drinks; 7% consume 7-10 standard drinks; 2% consume 11-12 standard drinks; and 2% consume 13 or more standard drinks. 16% of Australians aged 40-49 years abstain from alcohol; 42% consume 2 or less standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking; 22% consume 3-4 standard drinks; 10% consume 5-6 standard drinks; 7% consume 7-10 standard drinks; 0.9% consume 11-12 standard drinks; and 1% consume 13 or more standard drinks. 17% of Australians aged 50-59 years abstain from alcohol; 47% consume 2 or less standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking; 21% consume 3-4 standard drinks; 8% consume 5-6 standard drinks; 5% consume 7-10 standard drinks; 0.8% consume 11-12 standard drinks; and 0.7% consume 13 or more standard drinks. 22% of Australians aged 60-69 years abstain from alcohol; 51% consume 2 or less standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking; 18% consume 3-4 standard drinks; 5% consume 5-6 standard drinks; 4% consume 7-10 standard drinks; 0.4% consume 11-12 standard drinks; and 0.4% consume 13 or more standard drinks. 34% of Australians aged 70+ years abstain from alcohol; 53% consume 2 or less standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking; 10% consume 3-4 standard drinks; 2% consume 5-6 standard drinks; 0.8% consume 7-10 standard drinks; 0.2% consume 11-12 standard drinks; and 0.1% consume 13 or more standard drinks. * Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

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

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

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding. In addition, the proportion of abstainers may differ from the proportion presented in the Risky Consumption section due to differences in response rates for this measure.

Single Occasion of Drinking: Any time a person consumes one or more drinks containing alcohol, and during this period of time their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) does not return to zero.

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