What You Earn Is Tied to How You Drink

The wealthy and most educated are most likely to drink alcohol
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2015 7:24 AM CDT
Updated Aug 1, 2015 11:53 AM CDT
What You Earn Is Tied to How You Drink
In this 2012 photo, a customer checks bottles of imported wine at a supermarket.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

Overall, roughly two in three Americans drink alcohol—which has been true historically since 1939. But dig a little deeper and drinking habits vary widely among some Americans, particularly between those who are wealthy (eight in 10 drink) and those who are not (only five in 10 do), reports Gallup in its latest annual poll of American consumption. Education is another divider, with those who are college graduates being more likely to drink than those who are not. And while beer remains the drink of choice for 42% of Americans, 38% of those with a household income of $75,000 (the highest category in the poll) or more prefer wine and 36% prefer beer, while 41% of those who make $30,000 or less (the lowest category) choose beer and 29% go for wine.

The gap between incomes could simply be the result of access to alcohol, as Americans with higher incomes can afford to drink more and do things that involve drinking, like socialize with co-workers, go on vacation, and dine out, reports the Guardian. This is reflected in another finding: 47% of higher earners say they imbibed in the previous 24 hours, while only 18% of lower earners did. The numbers are nearly identical among college grads and non-grads. The poll was conducted by phone in early July and includes responses from 1,009 adults. (The more you work, the more you drink?)

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