Alcohol consumption varies widely across the globe, and US drinkers can keep up with the residents of many other countries.
As the map below from the World Health Organisation shows, Russians and their neighbours drink more than almost everyone else in the world.
Portugal, Grenada, and Andorra are also ranked in the highest category at more than 12.5 litres per person over the age of 15 in 2010.
WHO notes in its 2014 report on alcohol and health that 48% of those included in this data abstain from drinking altogether. So if those people were excluded, per capita consumption among those who do drink would be even higher than what’s shown on this map.
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Canadians drink more than Americans, keeping pace with most European countries. Alcohol consumption is low in northern Africa, but the southern half of the continent sees higher drinking rates, especially South Africa and Namibia.
Alcohol consumption in Russia is a major concern. A study last year found that the high number of early deaths in Russia could be attributed to people drinking too much. Commons causes of early deaths include liver disease, alcohol poisoning, and getting into accidents or fights while drunk.
Other countries near Russia, including Ukraine and Belarus, have similar levels of alcohol consumption.
WHO’s report notes that the European region contains just 14.7% of the world’s population above the age of 15, but accounts for 25.7% of the total alcohol consumed worldwide.
In addition to having some of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the world, Russia and Ukraine also have the most risky patterns of drinking, according to WHO:
To determine which countries have the riskiest drinking patterns, WHO considers the usual quantity of alcohol consumed per occasion, proportion of drinking events when drinkers get drunk, proportion of drinkers who drink daily or nearly daily, festive drinking, drinking with meals, and drinking in public places.
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