Spanish and Portuguese men lead the way in daily drinking

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In 2019, 8.4 per cent of the EU adult population consumed alcohol daily, 28.8 per cent weekly, 22.8 per cent monthly and 26.2 per cent never consumed or had not consumed any in the last 12 months. Daily alcohol intake was the most frequent in Portugal, with a fifth of the population consuming alcohol every day, followed by Spain.

Daily consumption of alcohol was found to increase with age. The lowest share of those who consumed alcohol the most frequently – that is every day – was recorded among those aged 15 to 24 (1.0 per cent) while the highest share in people of 75 or over (16 per cent). However, the latter age group also accounted for the highest share that never consumed alcohol or had not consumed any in the past 12 months (40.3 per cent).

Weekly alcohol consumption was fairly stable across all age groups between 25 and 64, the highest share being found among people aged 45 to 54 (33.5 per cent). Monthly and less than once a month consumption slightly decreased with age. People aged between 25 and 34 recorded the highest share that consumed alcohol monthly (28.5 per cent), according to EuroStat.

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Daily and weekly consumption of alcohol were more common for men than for women (respectively 13.0 per cent of men vs. 4.1 per cent of women and 36.4 per cent of men vs. 21.7 per cent of women).

Daily alcohol intake was the most frequent in Portugal, with a fifth (20.7 per cent) of the population consuming alcohol every day, followed by Spain (13.0 per cent) and Italy (12.1 per cent). In contrast, the lowest share was around 1.0 per cent in Latvia and Lithuania.

In the Netherlands, almost half of the population (47.3 per cent) consumed alcohol on a weekly basis, closely followed by Luxembourg (43.1 per cent) and Belgium (40.8 per cent).
Monthly consumption in the EU was the highest in Lithuania with 31.3 per cent, Latvia (31.1 per cent) and Cyprus (30.4 per cent).


Among the EU Member States, Croatia reported the highest share of the population (38.3 per cent) who never consumed alcohol or had not consumed any in the last 12 months.

Largest gender gaps for daily consumption in Portugal and Spain

In all EU Member States, men consumed alcohol more frequently than women. The largest gender gaps were found in Portugal (33.4 per cent vs. 9.7 per cent) and Spain (20.2 per cent vs. 6.1 per cent) for daily consumption and in Romania (32.2 per cent vs. 6.6 per cent) and Slovakia (30.6 per cent vs. 8.8 per cent) for weekly consumption. However, proportions of monthly intake were fairly equal between sexes.


In all the European countries, women accounted for a significantly higher share of individuals that never consumed alcohol or had not consumed any in the last 12 months. The largest gender gap was found in Cyprus (12.8 per cent men vs. 44.2 per cent women), Bulgaria (16.2 per cent vs. 42.0 per cent) and Italy (21.5 per cent vs. 46.7 per cent).

Heavy drinking episodes at least once a month higher in Denmark, Romania and Luxembourg

Heavy episodic drinking is defined as ingesting the equivalent of more than 60g of pure ethanol on a single occasion. Among the EU Member States, between four per cent (Cyprus and Italy) and 38 per cent (Denmark) of adults reported taking part in heavy drinking episodes at least once a month. Among these, the majority did so every month, while a smaller proportion, between three to 19 times smaller, engaged in the behaviour at least once a week.


Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check The Euro Weekly News for all your up-to-date local and international news stories.

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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