Alcohol use statistics

Alcohol use in the general population aged 14 years and older

Alcohol use in Australia has remained relatively stable over the past 10 years.

In 2019, 79.2% of South Australians had consumed at least one full serve of alcohol in the last 12 months. The national percentage was 76.6%.

Daily alcohol use – aged 14 years and older

The percentage of Australians who drink alcohol on a daily basis decreased significantly from 6% in 2016 to 5.4% in 2019.

In South Australia in 2019, 5.8% reported drinking alcohol daily; men were 3.5 times more likely to drink daily than South Australian women. Nationally, 1.8 times as many men reported drinking daily but decreased significantly, from 7.7% in 2016 to 6.9% in 2019. Daily drinking remained stable among Australian women (3.9% in 2019).

Weekly alcohol use – aged 14 years and older

Just over one-third (34.9%) of Australians in 2019 reported drinking weekly (excluding daily drinkers), which remained stable from 2016 (36.1%). In 2019, 36.8% of South Australians reported drinking weekly (excluding daily drinkers).

Alcohol use among high school students

The proportion of secondary school students who had ever tried alcohol has decreased significantly since 1996.

Between 2011 and 2014, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of secondary school students who reported having ever tried alcohol (from 77.5% to 67.4%). There was also a significant decrease in reported alcohol consumption in the last week (from 15% in 2011 to 10.4% in 2014). This remained stable in 2017 (66.7% reported ever trying alcohol and 12.3% in the last week).

A greater proportion of secondary school students reported drinking alcohol as they got older. In 2017, 60.3% of 12-15 year olds had tried alcohol compared with 79.1% of 16-17 year olds; 7.6% had consumed alcohol in the last week (compared with 21.4% of 16-17 year olds).

Almost one-fifth (17.2%) of secondary school students consumed more than four standard drinks (exceeding the recommended guidelines) at least once in a single occasion of drinking within the past two weeks, and 26.8% within the last month. Just over half (51.2%) had done so in the last year, and 57.2% in their lifetime.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Reports