New Office for National Statistics data shows big drop in young people's binge drinking but big regional variations. 5 key trends highlighted on ONS digital channel...

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We are drinking less

The Office for National Statistics is making increasingly effective use of its digital channel.

Here’s their latest (12 June 2015) post on binge drinking in Great Britain.

Like all good researchers, they just present the facts but can’t help being pleased when these facts are not what we expect:

Young adults are commonly associated with binge drinking in the media. However, the latest data about their relationship with alcohol might surprise you, as might the location of the teetotal capital of Great Britain. Here are 5 facts about drinking habits in Great Britain between 2005 and 2013.”

1. More than one in five adults in Great Britain in 2013 said they were teetotal

The proportion of teetotal young adults (those aged 16 to 24) increased by over 40% between 2005 and 2013.


2. The proportion of adults who binged at least once in the previous week decreased from 18% in 2005 to 15% in 2013

This is because the proportion of young adults binge drinking fell by more than a third since 2005, from 29% to 18%.


3. In 2013 only 1 in 50 young adults were frequent drinkers

This is a fall of more than two-thirds since 2005.


4. Almost a third of adults in London (32%) said that they do not drink alcohol at all

This was considerably higher than any other region of Great Britain and presumably linked to the high number of people from teetotal cultures and religions.



5. Around a third of adults in Scotland & the north of England, who drank in the previous week, had binged at least once

This compares with less than a quarter of those in other parts of Great Britain.


You can follow @ONS on Twitter.


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It is perhaps because of this very broad conclusion which can be characterised as “good parenting leads to emotionally healthy children who tend to make sensible life decisions” that Demos’ ten recommendations are, to my mind, rather woolly and not particularly likely to be implemented by government – and even less so in this age of austerity.

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