Aug 17, 2023 - Health

Young adults sour on drinking alcohol

Share of U.S. adults who believe one or two drinks a day is detrimental to health, by age group
Data: Gallup; Graphic: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

More than half of young adults in the U.S. see even moderate drinking — one or two drinks a day — as unhealthy, new Gallup polling found.

Why it matters: Views on alcohol and drugs are shifting rapidly, especially among millennials and Gen Z. Americans overall now see booze as more harmful than marijuana.

By the numbers: A record-high 39% of Americans believe moderate drinking is detrimental to health, up 11 points since 2018.

  • Among 18- to 34-year-olds, there was an 18-point jump — the biggest among any age group.
  • 50% of Americans polled said alcohol makes no difference for health, and 10% said it is good for health.

Between the lines: Women are more likely than men to perceive moderate drinking as unhealthy.

  • Nonreligious people (47%) were more likely than Christians (35%) to say it's harmful.

Zoom out: Consumer behavior is changing too, with more interest in mocktails and bars appealing to sober-curious patrons.

  • The growth of nonalcoholic beverages — while still a small sector — is being driven by Gen Z and millennials.

Worth noting: Research and guidance by health organizations on safe alcohol consumption have changed since Gallup's previous poll on the subject in 2018.

Flashback: Deaths caused by alcohol increased 26% during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the CDC.

Methodology: More than 1,000 adults from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., answered the poll, conducted July 3–27.

Go deeper: Buying booze? Your face — or palm — could verify your age

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