Publications & Reports

Alcohol consumption trends in Australia: Comparing surveys and sales-based measures.

Livingston M, Callinan S, Raninen J, Pennay A, Dietze PM


Introduction and Aims. Survey data remain a crucial means for monitoring alcohol consumption, but there has been limited work done to ensure that surveys adequately capture changes in per-capita consumption in Australia. In this study, we explore how trends in consumption from two major Australian surveys compare with an official measure of per-capita consumption between 2001 and 2014 and examine age-specific trends in drinking.

Design and Methods. Data were from five waves of the crosssectional National Health Survey (total n = 113 279) and 12 waves of the longitudinal Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Study (average n = 12 347). Overall and age-specific estimates of annual alcohol consumption were derived and compared with official per-capita consumption and previous analyses of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

Results. In terms of overall consumption, both surveys broadly reflected trends in per-capita consumption, especially the decline that has been observed since 2007/2008. Age-specific trends were broadly similar, with the recent decline in consumption clearly concentrated among teenagers and young adults.

Discussion and Conclusions. The main Australian monitoring surveys remain useful monitoring tools for alcohol consumption in Australia. There is consistent evidence that the recent declines in Australian per-capita consumption have been driven by sharp falls in drinking among young people, a trend that requires further study.

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  • Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review
  • Published: 01/01/2018
  • Volume: 37
  • Issue: Suppl 1
  • Pagination: S9-S14