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Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita

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Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita


Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita

Alcohol might be one of the oldest and most frequently used recreational substances in the world, but examining countries by alcohol consumption shows that usage is not equal.

Consumption levels, and types of alcohol consumed, vary widely based on location. Furthermore, the availability of fruits and grains used in alcohol production impacts which drinks are more commonly consumed, as does the predominant culture. Some cultures see alcohol consumption as a pleasurable experience, while others see intoxication as a sin.

There’s also the question of economics and availability. It’s strange, but in some regions of the world, industrially mass-produced alcohol can flood markets and become cheaper than other beverages, including water.

When we map alcohol consumption by capita, and by different types of alcohol, these local and cultural stories come to light. The above maps use recorded consumption data from WHO for 2019, in liters of pure alcohol.

Europe Leads in Per Capita Alcohol Consumption

The top 10 countries by alcohol consumption highlight the prominence of alcoholic beverages in European culture.

Eight of the 10 countries with the top alcohol consumption per capita were in Europe. Primarily, they were Eastern and Central European countries, including #2 Latvia, #3 Czech Republic, #4 Lithuania, and #5 Austria.

But the crown of alcohol consumption per capita goes to the Cook Islands, which leads the world with an annual per capita consumption of 13L (3.4 gallons) of alcohol.

Location 2019 Alcohol consumption/capita (L)
Cook Islands 12.97
Latvia 12.90
Czech Republic 12.73
Lithuania 11.93
Austria 11.90
Antigua and Barbuda 11.88
Estonia 11.65
France 11.44
Bulgaria 11.18
Slovenia 11.05
Luxembourg 11.00
Andorra 10.99
Romania 10.96
Poland 10.96
Ireland 10.91
Hungary 10.79
Spain 10.72
Belarus 10.57
Germany 10.56
Portugal 10.37
Slovakia 10.30
Barbados 9.94
Montenegro 9.91
UK 9.80
Cyprus 9.64
Croatia 9.64
Australia 9.51
Seychelles 9.48
Bahamas 9.48
Switzerland 9.41
Saint Lucia 9.30
New Zealand 9.17
Denmark 9.16
Belgium 9.15
U.S. 8.93
Saint Kitts and Nevis 8.84
Grenada 8.62
Niue 8.50
Japan 8.36
Netherlands 8.23
Finland 8.23
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 8.15
Malta 8.07
Canada 8.00
Argentina 7.95
United Republic of Tanzania 7.81
Chile 7.80
South Korea 7.74
Iceland 7.72
Eswatini 7.68
Italy 7.65
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7.48
Serbia 7.45
Republic of Moldova 7.45
Georgia 7.45
Russian Federation 7.29
Burkina Faso 7.28
South Africa 7.21
Sweden 7.10
Thailand 6.86
Uganda 6.82
Suriname 6.60
Panama 6.54
Gabon 6.47
Rwanda 6.35
Greece 6.33
Dominica 6.32
Brazil 6.12
Equatorial Guinea 6.11
Norway 6.05
Botswana 5.98
Belize 5.93
Angola 5.84
Trinidad and Tobago 5.81
Peru 5.74
Congo 5.74
Ukraine 5.69
Dominican Republic 5.56
Paraguay 5.47
Mongolia 5.46
Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.46
Uruguay 5.42
Guyana 5.11
Philippines 4.85
Cuba 4.70
Cabo Verde 4.70
Cambodia 4.56
Nigeria 4.49
China 4.48
Albania 4.40
Mexico 4.25
Sao Tome and Principe 4.23
Colombia 4.09
Cameroon 4.09
Burundi 4.07
Kyrgyzstan 4.02
Macedonia 3.90
Zambia 3.82
Armenia 3.77
Kazakhstan 3.73
Nicaragua 3.69
North Korea 3.61
Lesotho 3.56
Jamaica 3.46
Viet Nam 3.41
Mauritius 3.39
Sierra Leone 3.22
Guinea-Bissau 3.21
Liberia 3.12
Zimbabwe 3.11
India 3.09
Israel 3.07
Costa Rica 3.07
Ecuador 3.05
Bolivia 2.98
El Salvador 2.94
Turkmenistan 2.88
Haiti 2.85
Honduras 2.73
Fiji 2.71
Gambia 2.67
Sri Lanka 2.58
Venezuela 2.51
Uzbekistan 2.45
Nauru 2.44
Namibia 2.38
Samoa 2.18
Myanmar 2.06
Malawi 2.04
United Arab Emirates 2.03
Singapore 1.81
Côte d’Ivoire 1.70
Kenya 1.68
Guatemala 1.63
Vanuatu 1.60
Micronesia 1.59
Ghana 1.59
Tunisia 1.51
Mozambique 1.46
Togo 1.40
Maldives 1.38
Azerbaijan 1.38
Papua New Guinea 1.26
Benin 1.25
Solomon Islands 1.19
Turkey 1.18
Bahrain 1.18
Ethiopia 1.16
Lebanon 1.14
Qatar 0.96
Central African Republic 0.94
Tuvalu 0.93
Eritrea 0.93
Madagascar 0.89
Tajikistan 0.85
Brunei Darussalam 0.69
Malaysia 0.64
Mali 0.60
Algeria 0.59
Democratic Republic of the Congo 0.56
Chad 0.55
Morocco 0.51
Oman 0.47
Kiribati 0.43
Timor-Leste 0.41
Nepal 0.36
Guinea 0.33
Tonga 0.31
Senegal 0.25
Jordan 0.25
Djibouti 0.21
Comoros 0.18
Iraq 0.16
Egypt 0.14
Syrian Arab Republic 0.13
Niger 0.11
Indonesia 0.08
Bhutan 0.07
Pakistan 0.04
Yemen 0.02
Iran 0.02
Libya 0.01
Afghanistan 0.01
Somalia 0
Saudi Arabia 0
Mauritania 0
Kuwait 0
Bangladesh 0

At the bottom of the consumption charts? Not surprisingly, it’s Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Muslim countries where intoxication is religiously prohibited.

Regional Disparities in Alcohol Consumption

Per capita consumption of alcohol also highlights clear regional preferences in amount and type, or a lack of interest.

The biggest consumers of alcohol are countries in Central Europe, the South Pacific, and parts of the Caribbean. In Europe, beer and wine are kings, with most of the top consumers also being top producers such as France and Germany.

Spirits like rum, meanwhile, are dominant in the Cook Islands and much of the Caribbean, which has four of the 12 top spirit consumers. The others are mainly in Eastern Europe and Russia, which get most of their alcohol consumption from vodka.

Top Consuming Country by Alcohol Type Consumption/Capita
Czech Republic Beer 6.77L
France Wine 6.44L
Cook Islands Spirits 7.07L
Tanzania Others 6.60L

The importance of local crops couldn’t be overstated. Regions like Africa and Asia that struggle with the right conditions for grapes or hops saw higher consumption of “other” distilled drinks.

These include rice alcohol in South Korea and Japan, and drinks made from sugarcane, molasses, and even bananas in African countries like Tanzania.

Unlike goods like coffee or tea, alcohol can be produced from many different grains, fruits, or sources of sugar that can be fermented—so it’s natural that regional differences in types, amounts, and even cultural importance would arise.

But as one of the world’s most widely used recreational drugs, it’s played a storied role throughout history that is certain to continue evolving.

The post Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita appeared first on Visual Capitalist.



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