Drinking is falling out of vogue

Americans have been drinking alcohol less since the beginning of the pandemic. A survey in May found both a simultaneous rise and fall in drinking among U.S. adults, with slightly more people consuming less alcohol, 23%, compared with 17% drinking more.

When surveyed on how their alcohol consumption has changed over the past year alone, one-third of drinking-age adults report drinking less now (34%) compared to just 10% who say they are drinking more. The difference between those drinking less and those drinking more is a net of one-quarter drinking less (-24%). This significant divide suggests Americans are trending toward drinking less than before the pandemic.

Gen Z adults (21-24) are the most likely to say they are drinking more now than last year. This could be related to campus life and the novelty of being old enough to drink legally. Young Millennials (25-34), on the other hand, are likelier to say they are drinking less now.

Compared to two years ago, a greater percentage of people today report they are curious about living a sober lifestyle that completely removes alcohol. The 'sober-curious' have grown from 12% in 2020 to 19% today.

The greatest interest in living a fully sober lifestyle is found among Gen Z adults (21-24), followed by young Millennials (25-34). Adults aged 55 and older are the least sober-curious but also the most likely to say they already abstain from alcohol altogether.

Interest in going alcohol-free appears to be driven largely by a desire to lead a healthy lifestyle. Sober-curious individuals are much more likely to value living a healthy lifestyle, and nearly one-third of the 'very curious' are passionate about it.