Dr Craig Orchard
Social Survey Division
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455755
Frequency of release: Annually
Geographical coverage: GB
Geographical breakdown: Region
In 2012 58% of adults (people aged 16 and over) drank alcohol at least once in the week before being interviewed. The proportion has been declining both for men and women. Between 2005 and 2012 the proportion of men who drank alcohol fell from 72% to 64%, and the proportion of women fell from 57% to 52%.
The proportion of adults who drank frequently (those who drank alcohol on at least five days in the week before being interviewed) has also been declining. Between 2005 and 2012 there was a fall from 22% to 14% in the proportion of men who were frequent drinkers, and from 13% to 9% in the proportion of women. In 2012 people aged 65 and over were most likely to have drank frequently. This was true for men (23%) and women (14%).
Young people (those aged 16-24) were more likely to have drunk very heavily (more than 12 units for men and nine units for women) at least once during the week (27%), with similar proportions for men (26%) and women (28%). Only 3% of those aged 65 and over were very heavy drinkers.
Very heavy drinkers were five times more likely than other drinkers to have drunk strong beer/stout/lager/cider, and more than twice as likely to have drunk spirits or liqueurs.
The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) is a monthly inter-departmental multi-purpose survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics. It collects information on a range of topics from people living in private households in Great Britain.
This report on drinking habits uses data from OPN collections for the first time, and uses data from the 2012 collections. Data had previously been collected under the General Household Survey and General Lifestyle Survey.