Friday, August 13, 2010

Not That Abnormal

[Update: this post has been altered to reflect the fact that I did start drinking in August thanks to the influence of a dear friend of mine!]

Though I do now drink occasionally myself, I have always been disturbed by the implication that not drinking is weird, that "everybody" drinks. I think people should mind their own business and not pressure their friends who make such a choice or look down on them; this is especially an issue among the young, in college and even high school (and earlier!)

But I recently found the
following statistics that I find rather reassuring:

According to the CDC, in 2006 (most recent year with data available), 75% of adults age 18 and over in the United States had used alcohol at some point in their lives. 61% were current drinkers, meaning that 14% were former drinkers who had made the decision to stop using alcohol. The remaining 25% of the population were lifelong abstainers.

25 percent!! A whole quarter that have never drank! For those of you who make such a choice, I highly respect you, and 25% is hardly all that rare or weird or abnormal. And nearly 40% don't drink currently, counting those who have given it up at some point (maybe that will be me again some day). And the number of women who are lifelong abstainers is almost a third, and those who don't currently is almost half!

Similar numbers are given by recent Gallup polls about drinking which suggest that, though drinking may be slightly on the rise (due to the economic problems?), it still is only in the 60's percent range among all adults.

The media portrayal about its "universal" prevalence is thus highly over-exaggerated; I've also always liked this song:

No comments: