How Much Differently Do Men and Women Drink Alcohol — By Country

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Uncategorized

A few months ago, I wrote about the novelty of a McDonald’s selling beer at one of its restaurants in South Korea — a first for the fast-food giant in Asia.

The story wouldn’t have been complete, of course, without the context of South Korea’s raging alcohol consumption. People who drink here do so more heavily than their counterparts in most countries around the world, especially when compared to fellow rich nations, according to a survey by the World Health Organization.

The country-by-country comparisons from that story are plotted below.

The data show the daily alcohol intake among people who define themselves as “drinkers” (so the results skew higher because the non-drinkers aren’t included). The data are split by country, and they show how that differs among the sexes.

In South Korea, for example, men are more likely to be drinkers, and they consume much more on average than female drinkers (56 grams more per day, on average). Few countries are as heavily skewed toward men as South Korea (a reality for a number of societal indicators, not just booze). In some other places, like the United States, the alcohol intake is more evenly distributed among men and women.

This dot chart attempts* to explain these differences. The graphic is sorted alphabetically by country (with the world average, South Korea and the United States at the top for context):

This version summarizes the consumption and gender variance by the regions assigned to each country by the United Nations:

* How should I have sorted the larger graphic — by country name (easier to find places), total intake (shows the heaviest boozers), just men (they generally drink more), or the difference between the sexes (gender variance)? Maybe users should be able to toggle between those questions (tricky on mobile). Thoughts?

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