Oz alcohol consumption rises 13% in a decadeBy Annie Hayes
New research has revealed Australians are drinking “far more alcohol” today than 10 years ago, despite previous claims the nation’s alcohol use is falling.
Surveys undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2001 and 2011-2012 revealed that the average amount of alcohol consumed by Australians had risen by 13% – despite data from a separate study by the body claiming that Australians currently drink less alcohol than any time in the previous 50 years.
The newer study found that average daily alcohol intake increased from a mean of 3.9 standard drinks in 2001 to 4.3.
In addition, consumption among men increased from 4.7 to 5.0 standard drinks, and for women from 2.8 to 3.4.
Women consumed 40% less alcohol than men in 2001, but only 33% less in 2011-12.
An online article by co-authors Farhat Yusuf and Stephen Leeder claimed estimating the consumption of alcohol by individuals and societies is “notoriously difficult, especially as it frequently relies on self-reported data”.
Yusuf told The Sydney Morning Herald that surveys which asked people how much they drank were “plagued by errors” because they often asked what was consumed over long periods.
This leads to “inaccurate recollection”, he said – and enourages people to “play down their alcohol intake”, which could contribute to other research showing the decline.
However, he said the ABS data that he used asked people about their drinking in the past week, so it was “likely to be more accurate”.
Earlier this month, a study revealed that gin has experienced rapid growth in Australia over the past five years and is gaining on vodka as the country’s white spirit of choice.