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Ten Percent of Americans Drink Half the Booze

America has a lot of moderate drinkers, and a few really heavy ones

(Tim McConville/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

Americans drink a lot. Or, we should say, some Americans drink a lot. On average, Americans consume 9.2 liters of alcohol per person per year, putting the country in the top 50 most tipsy countries in the world. But according to the Washington Post, more than half of that drinking is done by just 10 percent of the population.

Where most people may enjoy a beer or glass of wine from time to time, the heaviest drinkers in the country—the top 10 percent—drink the bulk of the booze:

The top 10 percent of American drinkers - 24 million adults over age 18 - consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week. That works out to a little more than four-and-a-half 750 ml bottles of Jack Daniels, 18 bottles of wine, or three 24-can cases of beer. In one week.

Just 10 percent of Americans, which according to the Post most assuredly have drinking problems, account for nearly 60 percent of alcohol sales. "There are a remarkable number of people who drink a couple of six packs a day, or a pint of whiskey," Philip J. Cook, the public policy professor who came up with these numbers, told the Post, by way of explanation.

About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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