Monday, October 7th, 2013

One long, slow, frazzled week into Ocsober, anyone questioning why on earth they signed up can feel superior—for now—to these Australians engaged in riskier drinking and bingeing. 

Around 2.6 million Australian adults (14%) consume an average of more than two standard drinks a day, a level classified as Riskier Drinking by the NHMRCRoy Morgan research in the 12 months to June 2013 shows.

The incidence of Riskier Drinking rises from 12% of 18-24 year olds (268,000 people) to 18% of 55-64 year olds (484,000), before declining to 15% of 65-74 year olds and 11% of those over 75. But the largest group of riskier drinkers is the 45-54 year-olds: over half a million (17%) drink an average of more than two standard drinks a day.

Women represent just 24% of Riskier Drinkers overall, but make up a higher proportion (27%) of both 35-44 and 44-54 year olds and over a third of the 75+ group. 

Number of Australians with riskier alcohol consumption by age group

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2012 to June 2013, Australians 18+ n = 47,492

But while women comprise less than a quarter of Riskier Drinkers, they make up well over a third (37%) of binge drinkers—largely due to higher rates among 18-24 year olds.  

674,000 Australian adults (4%) report binge drinking at least once in the last 12 months: around 3% of women and 5% of men. 325,000 of them (48%) are 18 to 34 years old.

While Young men 18-24 are 72% more likely to binge drink than the Australian male average, women that age are well over twice as likely (127%) as the average woman.

1 in 16 young women report binge drinking at least once during the year compared with 1 in 12 young men. However it seems young women may learn lessons faster than the men: the proportion of women aged 25-34 year old are almost half as likely to binge drink as their younger selves, but the proportion of men binge drinking declines only 19% across age brackets.

Likelihood of binge drinking compared to gender average by age group

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2012 to June 2013, Australians 18+ n = 8,418

National Alcohol sub-index scores on the Alere Wellness Index powered by Roy Morgan Research show an overall 1.6% improvement in Australia’s alcohol health over the last six years, with a current mean of 101.9.

Nick Williams, Healthcare Consultant, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The incidence of Riskier drinking, in excess of two standard drinks per day, increases with age to peak amongst 55-64 year olds and Is more than three times more common in men than women. However 24% of binge drinkers are 18-24 year olds and in that age group women constitute 42%.”

Contact Profile

Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
P: 03 9224 5332


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