Britons Outdrink Canadians, Americans

by David W. Moore

More imbibers among men than women

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans have a long way to go if they want to catch up with Britons in alcohol consumption, though not too far to catch up with Canadians. The annual international Gallup Polls in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States find 41% of Britons consuming drinks at least a few times a week, compared with 27% of Canadians and 19% of Americans.

How often, if ever, do you drink alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine, or beer -- every day, a few times a week, about once a week, less than once a week, only on special occasions such as New Year's and holidays, or never?

Every
day

A few
times
a week

About
once a
week

Less
than
once a
week

Only
on
special
occa-
sions

Never

No
opin-
ion

United States

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

2005 Nov 7-10

5

14

11

10

29

31

*

2003 Nov 3-5

7

16

13

12

25

27

*

Canada

2005 Dec 12-18

7

20

18

13

31

11

*

2003 Dec 5-11

7

19

16

11

30

16

1

Great Britain

2005 Dec 12-20

10

31

17

9

19

14

--

2003 Dec 2-21

13

29

17

10

18

13

--

* Less than 0.5%

These results show little change from a similar series of polls conducted two years ago.

In all three countries, women are less likely than men to drink at least several times a week. The gender gap is particularly large in Canada, which shows a 20-point difference -- 37% of men drink at least several times a week, compared with 17% of women. In Britain, the gap is 14 points, and in the United States, 13 points.

Age differences are quite pronounced in Canada, with the 50 to 64 age group the heaviest drinkers (38%) and the under-30 crowd the lightest drinkers (18%). In the other two countries, age differences are relatively slight.

A comparison of drinking by age and gender finds similar patterns in Britain and the United States. The rate of drinking is about the same by age group, with men more likely than women to imbibe at least several times a week. However, in Canada, while women drink less often than men in both age groups, older men and older women drink significantly more often than do younger men and younger women, respectively.

Survey Methods

Results in the United States are based on telephone interviews with 1,011 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 7-10, 2005. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. The survey was conducted by Gallup USA.

Results in Canada are based on telephone interviews with 1,003 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 12-18, 2005. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. The survey was conducted by Gallup Canada.

Results in Great Britain are based on telephone interviews with 1,010 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 12-20, 2005. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. The survey was conducted by Gallup UK.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinionpolls.

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