A higher percentage of Americans drink alcohol today than they did in 1939, according to a Gallup poll analysis.
A July poll found that 66 percent of Americans drink alcohol, compared to 34 percent who abstain. In 1939, 58 percent said they drank alcohol, while 42 percent said they were abstainers.
“About one-third of all Americans say they never drink alcoholic beverages, but the rest say they do drink on occasion, according to a recent Gallup poll,” David W. Moore wrote for Gallup News Service.
“Over the past six decades, the number of admitted drinkers has varied from a low of 55 percent (in 1958) to a high of 71 percent (1976-1978),” Moore wrote. “There doesn’t appear to be any clear or consistent patter that would explain the variations.”
The July poll found that men and women age 18-29 drank at almost the same rates (77 percent and 76 percent respectively). The rates for older men and women (65 and older) were identical (48 percent).
Young men said that they prefer beer, while older men favored wine. Men consumed more alcohol and drank more often than women.
Twenty-seven percent of young men said they had an average of one drink per day, compared to 9 percent of young women.
Women at retirement age said they were more likely to have a daily drink than men (11 percent and 10 percent respectively).
Over a quarter of respondents said drinking has caused trouble in their families, while 72 percent said alcohol did not cause family problems.
The Gallup article did not examine alcohol consumption from a moral perspective.
One article in The Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists said most Baptists believe abstinence is a Christian duty. Another noted that the Southern Baptist Convention regularly passes resolutions condemning alcohol use and abuse.