Alcohol Consumption Rates for Women on the Rise, Including During Pandemic

October 2, 2020 Updated: October 2, 2020

Alcohol consumption and alcohol-related deaths have been increasing in recent years, according to multiple reports.

This has been especially for women, who have seen a sharper increase in alcohol-related deaths than men.

According to a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association on Sept. 29, which focused on the changes in the levels of alcohol consumption in adults, women have also increased their alcohol consumption by 41 percent above pre-pandemic levels.

The study, which was led by Michael S. Pollard, the senior sociologist at the RAND Corporation, aimed to examine the changes in alcohol consumption in individuals across the United States. A total of 1,540 individuals were recruited for the study, ranging in age from 30 all the way to 80. Out of the entire study sample, 883 (53.6 percent) were female, and 715 (46.4 percent) of which were male.

“In 2000, the rate for males was 3.6 times the rate for females (17.5 and 4.9, respectively); in 2018, the rate for males was 2.6 times the rate for females (22.6 and 8.6, respectively),” the study indicated.

“We’ve had anecdotal information about people buying and consuming more alcohol, but this is some of the first survey-based information that shows how much alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic,” Pollard said.

This comes as there was a reported 54 percent increase in national sales of alcohol for the week ending March 21 this year compared with the same period in 2019. Online alcohol sales for the same week was 262 percent higher this year than in 2019.

The news release issued by the RAND Corporation indicated that according to the study, alcohol consumption rates increased for the overall population, as well as for women, younger adults, and non-Hispanic white individuals.

“Alcohol consumption can have significant negative health consequences, so this information suggests another way that the pandemic may be affecting the physical and mental health of Americans,” Pollard said.

Increasing Trend

In addition, according to data published in an Oct. 1 report by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Centers for Health Statistics (NCHS), there was a 43 percent increase in alcohol-related deaths from 2006 to 2018.

“Rates overall and rates for males and females increased over the period. While rates were higher for males than females for each year, the rate of change was greater for females, resulting in a narrowing of the differences between male and female rates,” the report read.

For men aged 25 and older, the rate decreased slightly from 2000 to 2005 (17.5 to 16.9 per 100,000 people). Then from 2006 to 2018, the rate increased from 16.9 to 22.6 per 100,000 people—a 34 percent increase.

The rates for women at and over the age of 25, however, saw an increase from 4.9 per 100,000 people in 2000 all the way to 8.6 per 100,000 people in 2018. That’s a 76 percent increase from 2000 to 2018.

Moreover, compared to individuals who lived in urban areas, individuals who lived in rural areas increased at a more dramatic pace, especially in the small metro, micropolitan, and noncore areas.

If you or a someone you know is struggling with addiction, call the Al-Anon and Ala-teen hotline line on 800-356-9996 for support from a counselor. In case of an emergency, call 911.