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Who Are the Biggest Binge Drinkers in the World?


November 15, 2023 – Here’s a good guessing game next time you’re downing a few:  Which country can boast being the biggest guzzlers of alcoholic drinks?

Apparently those fun fellows at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) thought so too.   They conducted a study of binging habits in 29 countries and happily, the United States did not rank among the leading miscreants.  That probably disappointed some of the “researchers”.  In fact, drinking has actually decreased in 23 of the member OECD countries between 2011 and 2021.

Topping the list was Denmark, followed closely by Romania and surprisingly Britain.  Dropping into the local pub for a pint is serious business it seems.  Russia was not included in the study as it is not a member of the OECD.  The study defined binge drinking as having at least six drinks in a single session and about one in five adults admitted to bad behavior at least once a month across all countries.  That averaged out to 19% as some countries were as low as 3% while others were 30% or higher. Men, as expected, drink more than women but British women and Danish women tied in their alcohol consumption.

The Irish, often accused of being heavy drinkers, ranked eighth and Germany just fifth.

Health care spending was the reason for the study and since heavy alcohol use is harmful to health, the researchers are looking for ways to discourage binge drinking.  According to Peter Aiken, Fox News Digital reporter, one way might be “minimum unit pricing” which would set a minimum price for alcohol and therefore limit the number of drinks a person could afford to consume.  Another idea is warning labels on the dangers of alcohol, which are credited with decreasing consumption in Ireland and Scotland.

The United States has required warning labels since November 1989.  The results are a subject for another post.  It’s complicated!