Does the World Have a Drinking Problem?
on 15/03/11 at 8:26 pmBooze News
Kids’ drinking is on the rise, a third of all booze is black market, and nearly half of us have never touched a drink. David Sessions digs into a new report on global alcohol consumption from the World Health Organization and finds some stunning statistics.
1. Nearly Half of Us Have Never Had a Drink
In 2005, annual global alcohol consumption reached 6.13 liters per person over 15 years old. (That’s 6.13 liters of pure alcohol, not alcoholic beverages.) But we weren’t all imbibing equally: Only about 50 percent of the world’s people consume all of its alcohol, and most of them are in the wealthier Northern hemisphere. In fact, entire countries (mostly Muslim) hardly drink at all. Most shockingly, nearly half the world’s population—and more than half of the world’s women—have never tippled in their lives.
2. We Love Beer and Liquor, But Wine Not So Much
For all the buzz about wine’s pleasures, its artistry and health benefits, very few people actually drink it. A few scattered nations with vibrant wine-production—including France, Italy, Argentina, and Chile—consume mostly wine. But an overwhelming majority of the world prefers beer (North America, most of Europe, most of South America) or spirits (Russia and much of Asia). About 45 percent of the alcohol consumed in the world is in the form of liquor, while beer has been growing in popularity in traditionally wine-loving southern European countries like Spain.