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Migration helps alcohol consumption in Australia drop to 50-year low

Source: pexels

A decade ago Australia was gripped by a drinking culture but not anymore. Australia’s alcohol consumption has dropped to 50-year low, thanks to migration.

Australians appear to be drinking less, with new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing less alcohol was consumed in the past year.

Less than a decade ago, Australia was gripped by a drinking culture that hurt people's physical and mental wellbeing.

But new data shows that could soon all be a thing of the past with alcohol consumption falling to its lowest level since 1961.

The organisation says increased migration is a factor.

Louise Gates, from the Bureau of Statistics, says immigration could be one of the factors behind the fall.

"So it's definitely been heading in that direction and I guess we get some indications from our other surveys which show the proportion of people who don't drink or rarely drink has been increasing over that time as well, and that's partly due to increased (numbers of) residents from overseas,” she said.

women drinking beer

The Bureau of Statistics says almost 186 million litres of pure alcohol was consumed from 2016 to 2017 - that's 2.4 million litres less than the previous year.

That means 9.4 litres of pure alcohol each year is consumed for every person aged 15 years or over - the equivalent of 2.6 standard drinks per person per day.

Academic Julie Robert, from the University of Technology Sydney, who studies the cross-cultural impacts of alcohol abstinence campaigns, says it is not surprising.

"It's not surprising that 2008 was when we started to see the turning point and that the levels have just been dropping ever since. 2008 is when we saw the fever pitch around binge-drinking, we saw the tax on Alcopops go on at that time, it's also the time Australia started Dry July, Feb Fast and Oct-sober (campaigns)."

wine and beer

Although beer is the leading source of alcohol, it's been slowly declining since 2011 and wine and cider consumption is on the rise.

ReachOut Australia C-E-O Jono Nicolas says this is because the generation of excessive drinkers has changed. 

"We've seen from a whole range of statistics this generation of young people, in particular, are drinking less, smoking less, are probably one of the safest generations of young people in history."

He says while more and more young adults are actively choosing not to drink, Australia still faces a major problem. 

One area of concern though is that when young people do drink, they tend to drink large amounts in one sitting - so we still have a really big challenge communicating to people on binge drinking and how unsafe that can be for them."

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