Prevalence and Per Capita Consumption of Alcohol Use Worldwide

"• Worldwide in 2016, more than half (57%, or 3.1 billion people) of the global population aged 15 years and over had abstained from drinking alcohol in the previous 12 months. Some 2.3 billion people are current drinkers. Alcohol is consumed by more than half of the population in only three WHO regions – the Americas, Europe and Western Pacific.

"• In the African, Americas, Eastern Mediterranean and European regions, the percentage of drinkers has declined since 2000. However, it increased in the Western Pacific Region from 51.5% in 2000 to 53.8% today and has remained stable in the South-East Asia Region.

"• Total alcohol per capita consumption in the world’s population over 15 years of age rose from 5.5 litres of pure alcohol in 2005 to 6.4 litres in 2010 and was still at the level of 6.4 litres in 2016. The highest levels of per capita alcohol consumption are observed in countries of the WHO European Region.

"• Whereas in the WHO African Region, the Region of the Americas and the Eastern Mediterranean Region alcohol per capita consumption remained rather stable, in the European Region it decreased from 12.3 litres in 2005 to 9.8 litres in 2016. The increase in per capita alcohol consumption is observed in the WHO Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions.

"• Current drinkers consume on average 32.8 grams of pure alcohol per day, and this is some 20% higher (40.0 g/day) in the African Region and about 20% lower (26.3 g/day in the South-East Asia Region. Drinkers increased their alcohol consumption since 2000 in almost all regions except the WHO European Region.

"• One quarter (25.5%) of all alcohol consumed worldwide is in the form of unrecorded alcohol – i.e. alcohol that is not accounted for in official statistics on alcohol taxation or sales as it is usually produced, distributed and sold outside the formal channels under governmental control."


Global status report on alcohol and health 2018. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.