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The Nation : Alcohol Use at 30-Year Low, Poll Finds

Alcohol consumption is at its lowest level in 30 years, according to a new Gallup Poll. The survey found that 56% of Americans drink alcoholic beverages, down from 63% last year. The current level of alcoholic beverage consumption is a statistical tie with the lowest level recorded in 1958 (55%). When this question was first asked by Gallup in 1939, 58% said they drank alcohol. The highest incidence of drinking was recorded in 1976 and 1978, when 71% of the population drank liquor, beer or wine. The telephone survey of 1,225 adults conducted Sept. 12-15 has an error rate of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Those most likely to drink alcoholic beverages tend to be men (64%), college graduates (70%), individuals with annual family incomes of $50,000 or more (75%), and people living in the East (63%) or Midwest (61%). Fewer drinkers in the current survey report that they have had a drink within the last 24 hours, compared to drinkers in the 1988 survey (32% vs. 39%).


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