The following are statistics relating to children and their drinking behaviors. References appear at the end of the section.
Because we are constantly updating our Web pages to incorporate the most recent statistics, there may be some differences between the statistics on this Web site and those in our published documents. Please note that the Web site statistics are always our most current.
See also Information For You, Youth for additional resources.
On an average day in the past year, almost 8000 adolescents, aged 12 to 17, drank alcohol for the first time. 1
Of the people who began drinking before age 14, 47% became dependent at some point, compared with 9% of those who began drinking at age 21 or older. 2
62.0% of 8th-graders and 82.6% of 10th-graders believe that alcohol is readily available to them for consumption. 3
17.9% of 8th-graders and 41.2% of 10th-graders have been drunk at least once. 3
- 9th-grade girls now report consuming almost as much alcohol as 9th-grade boys: 36.2% of girls and 36.3% of boys reported drinking in the past month, and 17.3% of girls and 20.7% of boys reported binge drinking.4
- 33.9% of 9th-grade students reported having consumed alcohol before they were age 13. In contrast, only 18.6% of 9th-graders reported having smoked cigarettes, and 11.2% reported having used marijuana before they were age 13.4
- Rates of drinking differ among racial and ethnic minority groups. Among students in grades 9 to 12, 29.9% of non-Hispanic white students, 11.1% of African American students, and 25.3% of Hispanic students reported binge drinking.4
- A study of 5th-through 11th-grade students found that those who are exposed to and enjoy alcohol advertisements have more favorable beliefs about drinking and say they are more likely to drink in the future and consume more alcohol.6
1 Office of Applied Studies. 2007. A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.p
2 Hingson RW, Hereen T, Winter MR. 2006. Age at drinking onset and alcohol dependence: Age at onset, duration, and severity. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 160(7):739-746.
3 Johnston LD, O'Malley PM, Bachman JG, and Schulenberg JE. 2007. Data tables from the 2007 Monitoring the Future Survey. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan News and Information Services. [On-line]. Available: www.monitoringthefuture.org; accessed 12/12/07.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2006. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance United States, 2005. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: CDC Surveillance Summaries 55(SS-5):1-108.4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2006. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance United States, 2005. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: CDC Surveillance Summaries 55(SS-5):1-108.
5 Chen MJ, Grube JW. 2001. TV beer and soft drink advertising: What young people like and what effects? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.