New Studies Find COVID Lockdowns Drove Americans to Drink

New studies have found that the COVID-19 lockdowns drove Americans to drink more alcohol and that they were more likely to drink at home and in the morning.

“Per capita consumption of ethanol from all alcoholic beverages combined in 2021 was 2.51 gallons, representing a 2.9 percent increase from 2.44 gallons in 2020 and a 5.5 percent increase from 2.38 gallons in 2019,” the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said in its latest “surveillance report.”

“This was the largest two-year increase since 1969, when there was a 5.9 percent increase (2.37 gallons in 1967 to 2.51 gallons in 1969),” the report said.

According to the DailyWire:

  • Between 2020 and 2021, changes in overall per capita ethanol consumption included increases in 37 States and the District of Columbia, decreases in 10 States, and no changes in 3 States.
  • Analysis of overall per capita alcohol consumption by U.S. Census region between 2020 and 2021 indicated increases of 5.4 percent in the Northeast, 1.6 percent in the Midwest, 3.4 percent in the South, and 2.3 percent in the West.
  • In 2021, State-level per capita annual alcohol consumption was more than 10 percent above the overall national level (> 2.76 gallons) in 17 States and the District of Columbia, 10 percent or less above the national level (> 2.51–2.76 gallons) in 5 States, up to 10 percent below the national level (2.26–2.51 gallons) in 15 States, and more than 10 percent below the national level (< 2.26 gallons) in 13 States.

“Several studies have now shown that solitary drinking increased as a result of the pandemic,” said Kasey Creswell, an associate professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Studies have also shown that the associations between solitary drinking and alcohol problems are stronger for young women compared to young men,” she said. “This is especially concerning given that there have been recent increases in solitary drinking among US female adolescents.”

“Problematic morning drinking increased month-by-month during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a pattern that was only evident for gainfully employed individuals who were under lockdown/stay-at-home orders,” another NIH study found.