Chapter 3 Alcohol
Since 2013, hazardous or harmful drinking (over 14 units a week) has remained at similar levels, fluctuating between 24% and 26% (24% in 2018), as has non-drinking, fluctuating between 16% and 17% (16% in 2018).
Men continued to be twice as likely than women to drink at hazardous or harmful levels.
- Men 32%
- Women 16%
Men continued to be less likely than women to be non-drinkers.
- Men 13%
- Women 19%
24% of adults drank at hazardous or harmful levels, the same figure as in 2017, but down from 34% in 2003.
People living in the least deprived areas were more likely to drink at hazardous or harmful levels than those living in the most deprived areas.
- Least deprived 27%
- Most deprived 18%
People living in the least deprived areas were less likely to be non-drinkers than those in the most deprived areas.
- Least deprived 12%
- Most deprived 24%
Among men, the highest prevalence of hazardous or harmful drinking was found among those aged 55-64 (36%) and for women, prevalence peaked within the 45-54 age group (22%).
The mean number of units of alcohol consumed per week by adult drinkers decreased between 2003 and 2013 and has remained around the same level since.
- 2003 16.1 units
- 2013 12.2 units
- 2018 12.5 units
Male drinkers continued to drink almost twice as many units of alcohol a week on average than female drinkers.
- Male 16.1 units
- Female 8.9 units
For men, the highest mean consumption was among those aged 45-54 (18.5 mean units per week); for women the highest mean consumption was among those aged 16-24 (11.6 mean units per week).
The mean number of days on which adult drinkers drank alcohol in the last week increased with age; from 2.0 for those aged 16-24 to 3.6 for those aged 75 and over.
The percentage of men drinking more than four units on their heaviest drinking day declined significantly between 2003 (45%) and 2018 (36%). The percentage of women drinking more than three units on their heaviest drinking day also declined significantly between 2003 (37%) and 2018 (28%).