Us Brits have a bit of a binge drinking reputation in the eyes of the rest of the world. From images of people sprawled all over the streets of the UK in the Nineties, bingeing to their hearts desire, to today’s perfectly posed Insta wellness posts, change is afoot.
And this change is now quantifiable. Because, according from the latest figures from the ONS, alcohol consumption is at it an all-time low.
A poll taken in 2016 of around 8,000 British adults, found that 56.9% of people had had a drink the week before – the lowest number since the survey started in 2005, when it stood at 64.2%.
And while the whole population seems to have lowered drinking habits, 21% are apparently teetotal.
Interestingly, the younger age groups were the more infrequent drinkers, with the figures showing that people aged 45-64 are the heaviest consumers of alcohol – with two thirds of this age group having a drink in the past week.
This comes during the era of wellness and clean eating, where millennials reportedly prefer to go to the gym than the club.
Additionally, those in the higher wage brackets were more likely to binge drink, with people earning £40,000 PA or more 50% more likely than those on lower salaries. This could be down to the price of booze, or the added stress of high-pressure jobs, or it could imply that the higher earners feel less concern about turning up hungover to work.
Yet despite the overall reduction in alcohol consumption, the number of hospital admissions due to alcohol-related illness have reportedly increased by 64% in the last decade, and the number of people diagnosed with alcohol-related cancer has increased by 8%.
This generational gulf in drinking patterns is supported by pubs reporting lower sales of liquor. With the stigma of going teetotal giving way to a wholesome image, as well as the stagnant salaries of Gen Y who are desperately trying to hop on the property ladder, it’s no wonder we drink less.
Now, pass the green tea...