Young Australians turning away from alcohol

Angus Morgan

31 March, 2016

A new study of Australia’s drinking habits shows that young people are cutting back on alcohol, but older people have been slower to embrace the trend.

The study, co-authored by Burnet Institute’s Head of Alcohol and other drug Research, Professor Paul Dietze and La Trobe University’s Dr Michael Livingston, examines data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) from 2001-2013.

The data shows that between 2001 and 2007, a sharp decrease in underage drinking was offset by increases in drinking among middle-aged Australians who drink more and also make up a much larger proportion of the population.

From 2007 to 2013 the decline in alcohol consumption continued and was strongest among 14 to 29-year-olds, but there was a general, smaller decline also among older Australians with the exception of 60-69 year-olds whose consumption rose by 5.8 percent.

While the data demonstrates a declining trend in Australian alcohol consumption from 2007, the authors warn that rates of alcohol-related harm remain high, and some indicators continue to increase.

“The older generation does seem to be drinking more and we are seeing that come through in a number of different studies, and it’s quite a worrying trend,” Professor Dietze said.

“But the good thing is that these young people are continuing to drink less as they’re getting older.

“We know that in the past young people tended to drink about a third more than some of those older age groups, but now they’re drinking roughly comparable amounts to the older age groups.”

To download the paper National survey data can be used to measure trends in population alcohol consumption in Australia, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, click here.

Staff Member


Health Issue

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Paul Dietze

Co-Program Director, Disease Elimination




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