Special Report

The Heaviest-Drinking Countries in the World

10. Slovakia
> Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13.0 liters (tied, 9th highest)
> Pct. binge drinking: 26.2% (16th highest)
> Pct. of deaths, alcohol-related: 7.7% (14th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.1 years

Nearly 8% of deaths in Slovakia were alcohol related in 2012, one of the highest proportions among countries reviewed. By contrast, just 3.2% of deaths in the U.S. were alcohol related. In general, residents had bad drinking habits. More than 10% of people 15 years and older in the country had alcohol use disorders, including alcohol dependency. The rate for men was considerably higher, at 19.1%. Residents prefer spirits — which include distilled beverages such as vodka — considerably more than other forms of alcohol such as beer or wine. According to the WHO, Slovakia has also had issues with the use of alcohol not intended for human consumption, such as alcohol that is used for industrial purposes.

9. Czech Republic
> Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13.0 liters
> Pct. binge drinking: 36.5% (3rd highest)
> Pct. of deaths, alcohol-related: 5.8% (33rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.1 years

Only Austria and Lithuania had a higher percentage of binge drinkers than the Czech Republic. Czech males took the top spot in binge drinking, and Czech females drank among the most alcohol per-capita out of the countries reviewed. According to WHO data, Czechs prefer to drink beer over any other alcoholic beverage. One factor that could contribute to the country’s heavy alcohol consumption is its lax alcohol policies. The Czech Republic does not have any systems in place to monitor the health or social consequences of alcohol consumption, nor does the government regulate the sale of alcohol.

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8. Hungary
> Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13.3 liters
> Pct. binge drinking: 25.4% (17th highest)
> Pct. of deaths, alcohol-related: 6.7% (22nd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.1 years

Hungarians consumed an average of 13.3 liters of alcohol per person in 2010, less than just seven nations. No country had a higher rate of alcohol use disorders than Hungary, where 19.3% of the population abused alcohol in some form. As many as 32.2% of Hungarian men and 6.8% of women suffered from alcohol use disorders, the highest among countries reviewed. The country is also cited by the WHO as lacking key notifications on beverage containers, including labels for alcohol content.

7. Andorra
> Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13.8 liters
> Pct. binge drinking: 4.2% (69th lowest)
> Pct. of deaths, alcohol-related: 3.9% (77th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: n/a

Unlike many countries with high levels of alcohol consumption, Andorra’s economy is fairly prosperous. The small principality, located between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains, has an exceptionally strong tourism industry, which accounts for the majority of the country’s GDP. Illegal alcohol production was less common in Andorra than in many other heavy drinking nations, accounting for just 1.4 liters of per capita consumption. This may mean demand for alcohol is readily met through legal channels. Andorra’s population consumed 12.4 liters per capita on average when only legitimate purchases were measured, higher than all but two other countries. Most Andorrans prefer wine over other alcoholic beverages. Country residents were also considerably less likely to binge drink — just 4.2% of residents 15 and older engaged in binge drinking in the previous 30 days.

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6. Ukraine
> Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13.9 liters
> Pct. binge drinking: 23.2% (24th highest)
> Pct. of deaths, alcohol-related: 34.4% (2nd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 70.9 years

In addition to its current political turmoil, Ukraine has struggled with the effects of heavy alcohol consumption for some time Only Belarus had a higher percentage of alcohol-related deaths than Ukraine. Spirits were the drink of choice in the country, accounting for nearly half of the alcoholic beverages consumed. Additionally, only people in the Republic of Moldova consumed more illegal alcoholic beverages per capita than in Ukraine. The country also had high percentages of both males and females 15 years of age and older who engaged in binge drinking.

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