A new OECD report on the health of a subset of nations around the world includes this table on how much alcohol people consume in different countries.
The chart shows the litres of “pure alcohol” consumed per capita per year, for every resident 15 and older. One drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol, or or 0.02 litres. (That conversion formula varies slightly from place to place.) In the United States, for example, the average person consumes about nine litres of pure alcohol per year, which translates to 450 alcoholic drinks for the average American — a little more than one a day.
Yet the average alcohol consumed doesn’t tell us much. In the US, a full 73% of the alcohol we drink is consumed by the 20% of the population who are the heaviest drinkers. In Hungary, that same group of biggest drinkers accounts for 91% of the alcohol consumed, whereas in France it’s only about half.
On average, people in Lithuania, Austria, Estonia, and the Czech Republic drink the most. People in Indonesia, Turkey, India, and Israel drink the least.
Alcohol consumption has dropped since 2000 in many countries, but risen — in some cases sharply — in a handful, including China, Sweden, Chile, Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Lithuania.
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