American Alcohol Consumption During Covid 19

April 1, 2021

A new study sheds light on the increased frequency of alcohol consumption amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

″We’ve had anecdotal information about people buying and consuming more alcohol, but this is some of the first survey-based information that shows how much alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic.”

RAND Corporation’s Michael S. Pollard, PhD, one of the authors of a new study showing Americans’ alcohol intake frequency increased by 14% during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Published as a research letter in the journal JAMA Network Open.
  • 1,500+ U.S. adult participants, aged 30 – 80, were asked about their drinking habits during the spring of 2020 compared to the spring of 2019.
  • On average, the 14% increase reported translates to 75% of adults consuming alcohol 1 day more per month.
  • Study’s authors note that results are based on participants’ self-reporting.

The alcohol consumption increase was most notable among two groups:

  • Females, with 17% reporting drinking alcohol more frequently
  • Those aged 30 to 59, with 19% reporting drinking alcohol more frequently

Additionally, women reported a 41% increase in heavy drinking (i.e., drinking 4 or more drinks within 2 hours).


  • In April, the World Health Org. recommended that people currently restrict their alcohol consumption b/c of its negative impacts, incl. on mental health & potential to compromise people’s immune systems.
  • The study’s author echoed similar concerns, noting the results suggest “another way that the pandemic may be affecting the physical and mental health of Americans.”

Why are women drinking more frequently? This study doesn’t say. Separately, a UK study found those with the greatest increase in mental distress during the pandemic included young adults (18-24), women, and those with small children.

Read the COVID-19 Alcohol Study HERE

Mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal probability sample survey of the UK population: READ MORE

“Our findings suggest that being young, a woman, and living with children, especially preschool age children, have had a particularly strong influence on the extent to which mental distress increased under the conditions of the pandemic.”

by Jenna Lee,