Alcohol consumption trends in Australia: Comparing surveys and sales-based measures Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:Survey data remain a crucial means for monitoring alcohol consumption, but there has been limited work done to ensure that surveys adequately capture changes in per-capita consumption in Australia. In this study, we explore how trends in consumption from two major Australian surveys compare with an official measure of per-capita consumption between 2001 and 2014 and examine age-specific trends in drinking. DESIGN AND METHODS:Data were from five waves of the cross-sectional National Health Survey (total n = 113 279) and 12 waves of the longitudinal Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Study (average n = 12 347). Overall and age-specific estimates of annual alcohol consumption were derived and compared with official per-capita consumption and previous analyses of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey. RESULTS:In terms of overall consumption, both surveys broadly reflected trends in per-capita consumption, especially the decline that has been observed since 2007/2008. Age-specific trends were broadly similar, with the recent decline in consumption clearly concentrated among teenagers and young adults. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:The main Australian monitoring surveys remain useful monitoring tools for alcohol consumption in Australia. There is consistent evidence that the recent declines in Australian per-capita consumption have been driven by sharp falls in drinking among young people, a trend that requires further study. [Livingston M, Callinan S, Raninen J, Pennay A, Dietze PM. Alcohol consumption trends in Australia: Comparing surveys and sales-based measures. Drug Alcohol Rev 2017;00:000-000].

publication date

  • April 2018