Alcoholism Statistics

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. Reading alcoholism statistics helps people understand the scope of this problem. It affects the person who is addicted to alcohol, that person's family and everyone who interacts with that person. Alcoholism even has an impact on the economy when you take into account lost work days (and lost productivity) due to the addiction.

Alcoholism Statistics in the United States

Alcoholism is a condition that affects many people in the USA. According to, approximately 43 percent of the population has a family member who is an alcoholic. That works out to approximately 76 million people who grew up in a home where someone had a problem with alcohol or married someone with one.

  • Additionally, 23 million people are addicted to some type of substance. (It is possible to have multiple addictions at the same time.) Of these people, the majority (18 million) are addicted to alcohol.
  • People who are addicted to alcohol are twice as likely to be divorced than those who don't have this type of addiction.

Alcohol and Children

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome causes mental retardation, hyperactivity and slow growth in children.

Alcohol use among teens has been linked to learning problems, motor vehicle accidents and violent behavior including date rape. It is a leading cause of death for young people.

The Marin Institute's web site reports that over 11, 000 teens in the United States try using alcohol for the first time every day.

  • More than four million underage young people drink alcohol in any given month. The results of a national survey conducted amongst teens indicates that almost one-third of them (31.5 percent) reported that they had consumed five or more drinks in a single sitting within the previous 30 days. This level of consumption falls under the category of "hazardous drinking".
  • The earlier young people begin drinking, the more likely they will have problems in school including poor academic performance and attendance issues. As they become adults, they are more likely to be involved in violent acts and other kinds of criminal behavior. A child who begins drinking alcohol in his or her mid-teens (age 15) is four times more likely to become an alcoholic than a person who had his or her first drink at the age of 21.
  • Alcohol-related car accidents are the number one killer of teens. Alcohol also plays a role in the next three leading causes of death among young people which are homicide, suicide and drowning.

Alcoholism Costs

Alcoholism costs everyone, not just the person with the addiction. The Marin Institute reports the following:

  • Between 25 and 40 percent of all hospital beds in the United States (except for those being used by maternity and intensive care patients) are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption.
  • Children of alcoholics tend to spend more time in the hospital. On average, their stay is 29 percent longer than children of non-alcoholics.
  • Alcohol-related problems that are not treated account for about $186 billion in costs to businesses as well as the health care and justice systems.
  • When underage teens decide to drink, it costs the health care system approximately $3.7 billion per year to treat those injured in motor vehicle accidents and suicide attempts. When teens choose to consume alcohol, the total cost to society is about $52.8 billion.

Here's a final, sobering example of alcoholism statistics that will give you food for thought. A Canadian study found that the treating alcoholism and the health problems that accompany it costs more than treating cancer.

Article contributed by JC Redmond, LoveToKnow Recovery Site Editor

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Alcoholism Statistics