Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita
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Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita

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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.

Location2019 Alcohol consumption/capita (L)
Cook Islands12.97
Latvia12.90
Czech Republic12.73
Lithuania11.93
Austria11.90
Antigua and Barbuda11.88
Estonia11.65
France11.44
Bulgaria11.18
Slovenia11.05
Luxembourg11.00
Andorra10.99
Romania10.96
Poland10.96
Ireland10.91
Hungary10.79
Spain10.72
Belarus10.57
Germany10.56
Portugal10.37
Slovakia10.30
Barbados9.94
Montenegro9.91
UK9.80
Cyprus9.64
Croatia9.64
Australia9.51
Seychelles9.48
Bahamas9.48
Switzerland9.41
Saint Lucia9.30
New Zealand9.17
Denmark9.16
Belgium9.15
U.S.8.93
Saint Kitts and Nevis8.84
Grenada8.62
Niue8.50
Japan8.36
Netherlands8.23
Finland8.23
Lao People's Democratic Republic8.15
Malta8.07
Canada8.00
Argentina7.95
United Republic of Tanzania7.81
Chile7.80
South Korea7.74
Iceland7.72
Eswatini7.68
Italy7.65
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines7.48
Serbia7.45
Republic of Moldova7.45
Georgia7.45
Russian Federation7.29
Burkina Faso7.28
South Africa7.21
Sweden7.10
Thailand6.86
Uganda6.82
Suriname6.60
Panama6.54
Gabon6.47
Rwanda6.35
Greece6.33
Dominica6.32
Brazil6.12
Equatorial Guinea6.11
Norway6.05
Botswana5.98
Belize5.93
Angola5.84
Trinidad and Tobago5.81
Peru5.74
Congo5.74
Ukraine5.69
Dominican Republic5.56
Paraguay5.47
Mongolia5.46
Bosnia and Herzegovina5.46
Uruguay5.42
Guyana5.11
Philippines4.85
Cuba4.70
Cabo Verde4.70
Cambodia4.56
Nigeria4.49
China4.48
Albania4.40
Mexico4.25
Sao Tome and Principe4.23
Colombia4.09
Cameroon4.09
Burundi4.07
Kyrgyzstan4.02
Macedonia3.90
Zambia3.82
Armenia3.77
Kazakhstan3.73
Nicaragua3.69
North Korea3.61
Lesotho3.56
Jamaica3.46
Viet Nam3.41
Mauritius3.39
Sierra Leone3.22
Guinea-Bissau3.21
Liberia3.12
Zimbabwe3.11
India3.09
Israel3.07
Costa Rica3.07
Ecuador3.05
Bolivia2.98
El Salvador2.94
Turkmenistan2.88
Haiti2.85
Honduras2.73
Fiji2.71
Gambia2.67
Sri Lanka2.58
Venezuela2.51
Uzbekistan2.45
Nauru2.44
Namibia2.38
Samoa2.18
Myanmar2.06
Malawi2.04
United Arab Emirates2.03
Singapore1.81
Côte d’Ivoire1.70
Kenya1.68
Guatemala1.63
Vanuatu1.60
Micronesia1.59
Ghana1.59
Tunisia1.51
Mozambique1.46
Togo1.40
Maldives1.38
Azerbaijan1.38
Papua New Guinea1.26
Benin1.25
Solomon Islands1.19
Turkey1.18
Bahrain1.18
Ethiopia1.16
Lebanon1.14
Qatar0.96
Central African Republic0.94
Tuvalu0.93
Eritrea0.93
Madagascar0.89
Tajikistan0.85
Brunei Darussalam0.69
Malaysia0.64
Mali0.60
Algeria0.59
Democratic Republic of the Congo0.56
Chad0.55
Morocco0.51
Oman0.47
Kiribati0.43
Timor-Leste0.41
Nepal0.36
Guinea0.33
Tonga0.31
Senegal0.25
Jordan0.25
Djibouti0.21
Comoros0.18
Iraq0.16
Egypt0.14
Syrian Arab Republic0.13
Niger0.11
Indonesia0.08
Bhutan0.07
Pakistan0.04
Yemen0.02
Iran0.02
Libya0.01
Afghanistan0.01
Somalia0
Saudi Arabia0
Mauritania0
Kuwait0
Bangladesh0

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 AlcoholTypeConsumption/Capita
Czech RepublicBeer6.77L
FranceWine6.44L
Cook IslandsSpirits7.07L
TanzaniaOthers6.60L

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.

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Politics

Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?

There is a clear correlation between trust in government and trust in public institutions, but a few countries buck the trend.

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Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?

In many countries around the world, vast portions of the population do not trust their own government.

Lack of faith in government and politics is nothing new, but in times of uncertainty, that lack of trust can coalesce into movements that challenge the authority of ruling parties and even threaten the stability of nations.

This visualization uses data from the Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Monitor to look at how much various populations trust their government and public institutions.

Tracking Trust in Government

Since the beginning of the pandemic, global trust in government has improved by eight percentage points, but that is only a small improvement on an otherwise low score.

At the country level, feelings towards government can vary widely. India, Germany, Netherlands, and Malaysia had the highest government trust levels.

Many of the countries with the lowest levels of trust were located in Latin America. This makes sense, as trust in politicians in this region is almost non-existent. For example, in Colombia, only 4% of the population consider politicians trustworthy. In Argentina, that figure falls to just 3%.

Trust in Public Institutions

Broadly speaking, people trust their public services more than the governments in charge of managing and funding them. This makes sense as civil servants fare much better than politicians and government ministers in trustworthiness.

chart showing global trust in professions. Politicians and government ministers rank the lowest.

As our main chart demonstrates, there is a correlation between faith in government and trust in public institutions. There are clear “high trust” and “low trust” groupings in the countries included in the polling, but there is also a third group that stands out—the countries that have high trust in public institutions, but not in their government. Leading this group is Japan, which has a stark difference in trust between public services and politicians. There are many factors that explain this difference, such as values, corruption levels, and the reliability of public services in various countries.

While trust scores for government improved slightly during the pandemic, trust in public institutions stayed nearly the same.

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Misc

Explainer: What to Know About Monkeypox

What is monkeypox, and what risk does it pose to the public? This infographic breaks down the symptoms, transmission, and more.

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Explainer: What to Know About Monkeypox

The COVID-19 pandemic is still fresh in the minds of the people around the world, so it comes as no surprise that recent outbreaks of another virus are grabbing headlines.

Monkeypox outbreaks have now been reported in multiple countries, and it has scientists paying close attention. For everyone else, numerous questions come to the surface:

  • How serious is this virus?
  • How contagious is it?
  • Could monkeypox develop into a new pandemic?

Below, we answer these questions and more.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus in the Orthopoxvirus genus which also includes the variola virus (which causes smallpox) and the cowpox virus. The primary symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a distinctive bumpy rash.

There are two major strains of the virus that pose very different risks:

  • Congo Basin strain: 1 in 10 people infected with this strain have died
  • West African strain: Approximately 1 in 100 people infected with this strain died

At the moment, health authorities in the UK have indicated they’re seeing the milder strain in patients there.

Where did Monkeypox Originate From?

The virus was originally discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in monkeys kept for research purposes (hence the name). Eventually, the virus made the jump to humans more than a decade after its discovery in 1958.

It is widely assumed that vaccination against another similar virus, smallpox, helped keep monkeypox outbreaks from occurring in human populations. Ironically, the successful eradication of smallpox, and eventual winding down of that vaccine program, has opened the door to a new viral threat. There is now a growing population of people who no longer have immunity against the virus.

Now that travel restrictions are lifting in many parts of the world, viruses are now able to hop between nations again. As of the publishing of this article, a handful of cases have now been reported in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and a number of European countries.

On the upside, contact tracing has helped authorities piece together the transmission of the virus. While cases are rare in Europe and North America, it is considered endemic in parts of West Africa. For example, the World Health Organization reports that Nigeria has experienced over 550 reported monkeypox cases from 2017 to today. The current UK outbreak originated from an individual who returned from a trip to Nigeria.

Could Monkeypox become a new pandemic?

Monkeypox, which primarily spreads through animal-to-human interaction, is not known to spread easily between humans. Most individuals infected with monkeypox pass the virus to between zero and one person, so outbreaks typically fizzle out. For this reason, the fact that outbreaks are occurring in several countries simultaneously is concerning for health authorities and organizations that monitor viral transmission. Experts are entertaining the possibility that the virus’ rate of transmission has increased.

Images of people covered in monkeypox lesions are shocking, and people are understandably concerned by this virus, but the good news is that members of the general public have little to fear at this stage.

I think the risk to the general public at this point, from the information we have, is very, very low.
–Tom Inglesby, Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

» For up-to-date information on monkeypox cases, check out Global.Health’s tracking spreadsheet

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