That's according to Gallup. But the overall statistic camouflages some interesting facts.
First, according to the 2021-2022 data, 80% of adults aged 18 and older living in households earning $100,000 or more say they drink, far exceeding the 49% of those earning less than $40,000. The rate among middle-income earners falls about halfway between, at 63%.
Relatedly, drinking also differs by education, with college graduates (76%) and postgraduates (75%) the most likely to report they drink. This is followed by nearly two-thirds of those with some college education (65%) and about half of those who haven’t attended college (51%).
Religion also plays a role. Adults who attend their church or other place of worship weekly (50%) are less likely than less-frequent attenders (63%) and nonadherents (69%) to say they drink.
By contrast, religious denomination is not a strong factor in use of alcohol. Protestants are the least-likely major religious category in the U.S. to say they ever drink alcohol, Gallup found. However, the 60% of Protestants who in 2021-2022 reported they drink is only modestly lower than the 68% among U.S. Catholics and 67% among those with no religious affiliation.
Some 66% of men and 61% of women say they ever have occasion to drink. But again, this hides some important data. Whereas 60% of adults aged 18 to 29 say they drink, the rate is 71% among those aged 21 to 29. That matches the percentage of 30- to 49-year-olds who drink (70%), while it exceeds the rate among those 50 to 64 (64%) and 65 and older (54%).
Among the nation’s largest racial and ethnic groups, White adults aged 18 and older (68%) are more likely than Hispanic adults (59%) or Black adults (50%) to report they drink. A review of Gallup’s longer-term data confirm that White adults have been consistently more likely than Hispanic and Black adults to drink, while the rate among the last two groups has been statistically similar.
On aveerage, U.S. drinkers say they consumer four drinks a week. This rises to six drinks a week for regular drinkers – those who had at least one drink in the past week.
When asked how many alcoholic drinks of any kind they had in the past seven days, a third of drinkers (34%) in 2022 said they had had none. About half (53%) said they had between one and seven drinks, while 12% reported consuming eight or more drinks, thus averaging more than one per day.
Beer, which used to be overwhelmingly Americans drink of choice, is losing ground to wine. The survey found 35% prefer beer, 31% wine and 30% favor liquor, a new high.