Alcohol consumption trends in Australia: Comparing surveys and sales-based measures

Michael Livingston, Sarah Callinan, Jonas Raninen, Amy Pennay, Paul M. Dietze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction and Aims: Survey data remain a crucial means for monitoring alcohol consumption, but there has been limited work done to ensure that surveys adequately capture changes in per-capita consumption in Australia. In this study, we explore how trends in consumption from two major Australian surveys compare with an official measure of per-capita consumption between 2001 and 2014 and examine age-specific trends in drinking. Design and Methods: Data were from five waves of the cross-sectional National Health Survey (total n = 113 279) and 12 waves of the longitudinal Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Study (average n = 12 347). Overall and age-specific estimates of annual alcohol consumption were derived and compared with official per-capita consumption and previous analyses of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Results: In terms of overall consumption, both surveys broadly reflected trends in per-capita consumption, especially the decline that has been observed since 2007/2008. Age-specific trends were broadly similar, with the recent decline in consumption clearly concentrated among teenagers and young adults. Discussion and Conclusions: The main Australian monitoring surveys remain useful monitoring tools for alcohol consumption in Australia. There is consistent evidence that the recent declines in Australian per-capita consumption have been driven by sharp falls in drinking among young people, a trend that requires further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S9-S14
Number of pages6
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Survey
  • Trend

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