Cheers, Y'all! UT-Southwestern Doc Says Alcohol Consumption Is On the Rise. Ish.
An article in R&D Mag quotes Dr. Raul Caetano, dean of the UT-SW School of Health Professions, who speculates that "changes in the population due to aging, the influx of immigrant groups, and a decline in mean income level because of economic recessions" could all be causes for an increase.
It also helps to not be a white lady if teetotalism's your thing:
While more Caucasians, Hispanics and African-Americans reported drinking between 1992 and 2002, only Caucasian women consumed more drinks per person. The number of drinks that African-Americans and Hispanics consumed leveled out over the 10-year time period.This correlates with an earlier study that says professional women are drinking more than ever, a demographic into which I happily fall, face-first, with a pair of heels in one hand and a High Life in the other. There are also indications that more moms are taking the edge off of hours of child-chatter with a drink or two, quel horreur and what-have-you. Of course, we can blame feminism for all this ladyboozing. Those uppity skirts think they can drink all they like, apparently.
In addition to an increase in the number of both male and female drinkers within all three ethnic groups, the researchers also found that among women, Caucasians were more likely than Hispanics or African-Americans to consume five or more drinks a day or drink to intoxication. An increase in drinking five or more drinks a day was also detected among the heavier drinkers in the population, suggesting a potential polarization of drinking practices.
I did a little Googling to find out what our collective panic level should be -- after all, just because we're drinking more than we did 20 years ago still doesn't mean that we've got a problem, right? We can quit any time we want! Looks like drinking rose after Prohibition, then declined in the '80s and '90s before picking up once again. Which indicates to me that, on average, we may be drinking about the same amount as we ever did, Mad Men depictions of non-stop boozing notwithstanding.