Who Are The World’s Biggest Drinkers?

Richard Florida and his team at the Creative Class recently mined the World Health Organization's Global Status Report on Health and Drinking to...

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs on February 28, 2011. @timjamesryan

Richard Florida and his team at the Creative Class recently mined the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Health and Drinking to extract meaningful conversation points from an impossibly large data-set ripe for assumptions.

Beginning with questions like, ‘is education a factor in drinking,’, or ‘is drinking associated with difficult economic times,’ the team tested widely held stereotypes for their validity.

Some notable findings were that happier nations drink more than unhappy ones — drinking in rich, and highly educated countries is more prevalent than in poor and uneducated ones, and finally that white collar drinkers drown their blue collar counterparts in consumption each year. Statistically, the creative class- the share of workers in professional, technical, artistic, creative, health and education jobs- are the most enthusiastic imbibers.

The findings present a paradox  While citizens in rich countries may drink more, their alcohol-attributable mortality rates are lower than those in poor countries. Access to modern health care and the consumption of refined spirits offer explanation for this fact, but there could also be cultural underpinnings for why citizens in poorer countries choose to drink less.

As Richard writes,

When people in poor nations drink, it tends to compound their economic woes and health problems. But for nations whose people can afford it, alcohol (when used in moderation) is more of an indulgence than a vice.

Overall, the findings show that some of the world’s happiest, wealthiest, and most well-educated countries are also the biggest drinkers.

See the image below for the World Health Organization’s data point information on the word’s drinking.

global status of health and alcohol-who-organization-world health-public health

The Creative Class

The World Health Organization

Image by Axelman247