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Total per capita alcohol consumption in the U.S. 1850-2018

Per capita alcohol consumption in the United States has increased in the past couple of decades to reach 2.35 gallons of ethanol per capita in 2018. Beer remains the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the U.S. In 2018, over 20 million gallons of beer were consumed.

Health risks

Constant and excessive alcohol use has been shown to cause many health complications and increase the risk of many diseases. For example, alcohol consumption increases the risk of various types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease. The cost of such health complications from alcohol is substantial. As of 2017, it was estimated that the health care costs alone from the abuse of alcohol in the United States were around 27 billion dollars a year.

Liver cirrhosis

A common health complication from the abuse of alcohol is liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver from repeated injury. It can cause other health complications such as high blood pressure, bleeding, and infection, and can result in early death if left untreated. In 2017, there were over 22,000 alcohol-related liver cirrhosis deaths in the U.S., almost double the number reported 15 years earlier.

Alcohol consumption per capita from all beverages in the U.S. from 1850 to 2018

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Release date

April 2020


United States

Survey time period

1850 to 2018

Age group

14 years and older

Supplementary notes

Based on population aged 15 and older prior to 1970 and population aged 14 and older thereafter.

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Statistics on "Alcoholic Beverages in the United States"

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