A new Gallup survey suggests household income is the biggest factor in determining whether a person drinks or not. The new report (which Gallup has been conducting annually since 1939) notes that, according to the 2021-2022 data, 80% of adults aged 18 and older living in households earning $100,000 or more say they drink, which greatly exceeds the 49% of those earning less than $40,000.
The rate among middle-income earners comes in at 63%, which is also the same overall percentage of U.S. adults aged 18 and older who say they drank alcohol over the past two years.
Some other interesting data from the Gallup survey:
- Perhaps the next biggest drinking factor is education: College graduates (76%) and postgraduates (75%) are the two groups most likely to report they drink. This is followed by those with some college education (65%) and those who haven’t attended college (51%).
- Religion is an important factor — adults who attend a place of worship weekly are less likely (50%) than less-frequent attenders (63%) and non-adherents (69%) to say they drink. However, the report suggests “religious denomination is not a strong factor in [the] use of alcohol.”
- Gender isn’t a huge factor in alcohol consumption, with 66% of men versus 61% of women saying they drink.
- White adults aged 18+ are more likely (68%) than Hispanic adults (59%) or Black adults (50%) to drink.
- Maybe the younger adult generations are drinking, in spite of a sober curious movement: 60% of adults aged 18-29 say they drink, but the rate is 71% among those aged 21-29, which is around the same percentage of 30- to 49-year-olds who drink (70%). After that, the numbers decline, with the alcohol consumption rate for those 50-64 (64%) and 65 and older (54%).
- Overall, U.S. drinkers slightly prefer beer over wine or liquor, but the latter had its highest showing ever in the report.
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