Who's the Drunkest of Them All?

Alcohol consumption across world does not find US in top 25

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Many Americans may enjoy drinking on New Year's Eve, but they don't top the charts. In fact, the US is not even among the 25 "drunkest" countries in world alcohol consumption rates.

The ranking of the world's "drunkest" countries can be found in a report from the World Health Organization. The WHO report looked at alcohol use and alcohol health across the world.

The rates of drinking were lowest in Muslim countries, with Yemen residents drinking the least amount of alcohol per person per year in the world.

The highest consumers of alcohol are the Eastern Europeans.

"Enjoy alcohol responsibly; don't drink and drive."

Published earlier this year by the Management of Substance Abuse Team at WHO, the Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health found that 2.5 million deaths occur each year as a result of alcohol use.

That's almost four percent of all deaths across on earth, more than the deaths caused by HIV/AIDS or violence. Among men aged 15 to 59, alcohol-related harm is the leading risk factor for death, primarily due to injury, violence and cardiovascular diseases.

Other diseases mentioned in the report that are linked to alcohol or which alcohol can worsen include epilepsy, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, hypertension, cardiac dysrhythmias, stroke, diabetes and fetal alcohol syndrome for the children of pregnant women who drink.

Alcohol also increases the risk of suicide or violence and has been shown to increase the risk of cancer in the colon, breast (female), larynx, liver, esophagus, oral cavity and pharynx.

But the report also noted that moderate drinking has benefits, such as the link found between red wine and a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Those benefits are only seen with moderate drinking, no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men.

The report also found that drinking among adolescents and young adults is increasing, and so are dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking until you become drunk or binge drinking, among teens and young adults.

Overall, while the highest percentages of the population who have abstained from alcohol tend to be concentrated in African countries, the highest amount drunk per person occurred in Europe.

In the US, the average resident drinks about 2.49 gallons of pure alcohol a year, which is about in the middle across the world. Moldova in Eastern Europe topped the chart with an average consumption of 4.81 gallons per person per year.

Other than South Korea, which ranked 13th in world consumption with an average 3.91 gallons per person per year, every other country in the top 25 was in Eastern or Western Europe.

1. Moldova, 4.81 gal./person

2. Czech Republic, 4.35 gal./person

3. Hungary, 4.30 gal./person

4. Russia, 4.16 gal./person

5. Ukraine, 4.12 gal./person

6. Estonia, 4.11 gal./person

7. Andorra, 4.09 gal./person

8. Romania, 4.04 gal./person

9. Slovenia, 4.01 gal./person

10. Belarus, 4.00 gal./person

11. Croatia, 3.99 gal./person

12. Lithuania, 3.97 gal./person

13. South Korea, 3.91 gal./person

14. Portugal, 3.84 gal./person

15. Ireland, 3.81 gal./person

16. France, 3.61 gal./person

17. United Kingdom, 3.53 gal./person

18. Denmark, 3.53 gal./person

19. Slovakia, 3.52 gal./person

20. Netherlands, 3.50 gal./person

21. Austria, 3.50 gal./person

22. Luxembourg, 3.44 gal./person

23. Germany, 3/38 gal./person

24. Finland, 3.31 gal./person

25. Latvia, 3.30 gal./person

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 27, 2012
Last Updated:
December 30, 2013