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Per capita consumption of alcohol in China, India and the USA as compared to the 25 countries with the highest consumption, 2006 (litres)

Source: World Health Organization, /App_Main/view_indicator.aspx?iid=465.
Data downloaded from on 10 July 2011 (a web site with many other interesting country rankings).

Definition: The total alcohol consumption per capita (APC) is defined as the total (sum of recorded and unrecorded) amount of alcohol consumed per adult (15+ years) over a calendar year, in litres of pure alcohol. Recorded alcohol consumption refers to official statistics (production, import, export, and sales or taxation data), while the unrecorded alcohol consumption refers to alcohol which is not taxed and is outside the usual system of governmental control. In circumstances in which the number of tourists per year is at least the number of inhabitants, the tourist consumption is also taken into account and is deducted from the country's recorded APC.

The above figure displays the total per capita consumption of pure alcohol in China, India and the United States of America in 2006 - as compared to the 25 countries with the highest per capita alcohol consumption in the world. It is noteworthy that 24 of the 25 countries with the highest per capita alcohol consumption are European countries - particularly from Eastern Europe. Clearly, alcohol consumption is a major issue in Europe.

China's per capita alcohol consumption in 2006 was estimated by the World Health Organization to be only one third to half of what is typical for many European countries. Yet, people in China, on average, drink more than twice as much alcohol than people in India. The per capita alcohol consumption of the United States of America is roughly between the typical consumption in Europe and China.


Johanne Cochrane / Hanhui Chen / Katherine M. Conigrave / Wei Hao (2003): Alcohol use in China. In: Alcohol & Alcoholism Vol. 38, No. 6, pp. 537542, 2003 (

World Health Organization (2004): Country profile. Alcohol use in China.

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This data section was updated on 10 July 2011.

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Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved. - 18 April 2012