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Young people, especially the Gen Zers are significantly less likely to drink alcohol than adults their parents’ age due to a complex combination of outside pressures and too much information.
Lola’s drinking habits evolved as she aged. The night would begin with excessive drinking, followed by a day spent feeling bad about the previous night. After then, there will be some lull until the next grand celebration. However, Lola immediately went to London with her parents when the plague began and quit drinking. She thinks being locked up allowed her to break away from her prior habits and deal with her anxiety issues.
The 22-year-old student now has a new relationship with alcohol. She tried going to clubs without drinking recently, and while she still drinks, she does so less regularly.
Lola believes that before the pandemic, her friends drank less than they do today. As a result, when she does not drink, her friends do not chastise her.
Experimenting with alcohol and excessive drinking have long been regarded as a form of maturation, at least in Western countries. From an early age, often before the legal drinking age, alcohol is considered a way to have fun, make friends, and escape life’s regular difficulties. As a result, few places of business or social events do not serve alcohol.
Gen Zers on the other hand, is taking its time maturing. As a result, they either don’t drink at all or drink less frequently and in smaller amounts than older people. According to the most recent and largest research on drinking practices in the United Kingdom, 16- to 25-year-olds were likely to be teetotal in 2019, with 26% not drinking. This was compared to persons aged 55 to 74, who had the lowest teetotal rate, with 15% not drinking.
Gallup revealed that those in the United States aged 35 to 54 are the most likely to drink alcohol (70%), followed by Generation Z (60%) and Boomers (52%). However, a 2020 poll found that the percentage of college-age Americans who do not drink has climbed from 20% to 28% in a decade. Furthermore, the majority of young Europeans (defined as those between the ages of 18 and 39) drink once a month (27%), while the majority of Americans drink once a week (25%).
According to experts, the fall in young people’s drinking is evident and pervasive across the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. During the shutdown, Generation Z Australians were the most likely to reduce alcohol intake. More than any other generation, 44% of Australians in Generation Z claimed to drink less. Binge drinking among New Zealand’s young people has dropped by more than half since 2001 and continues to fall.
However, attributing the recession to a single cause is impossible. Gen Zers are growing up in a unique social environment. They fear taking risks because they are concerned about money and society. In addition, they are aware of how alcohol impacts their health and those around them. As a result, a youth culture in which drinking is not the norm is flourishing, and the transition is evident.
The risk-averse Gen-Zers
Gen Zers appears to be more concerned about their health and how their peers perceive them than prior generations, which may explain why drinking is declining.
This transition is due, in part, to growing knowledge among today’s young of the health risks associated with these habits. She says that as more studies and open talks are undertaken, their understanding becomes more diverse. As a result, it is easier to learn more about how drinking might hurt you.
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For example, young people are significantly more afraid of losing control and being hooked on alcohol. A 2019 Google poll found that 41% of Gen Zers associate alcohol with words like “vulnerability,” “anxiety,” and even “abuse.” In the United Kingdom, 60% of Gen Zers associate drinking with a loss of control, nearly twice as many as those who do not. As a result, some people, especially women, may be less inclined to drink at spiked bars and clubs.
Furthermore, a young person’s every move on social media could be broadcast to friends, family, and prospective employers in real-time. Of course, this makes letting go dangerous. According to the same Google study, 49% of Gen Z always think about their online image while socializing and drinking. So it’s no surprise that 76% say having complete control over their lives is vital.
There has also been a substantial shift in attitude, according to John Holmes, a professor of alcohol policy at the University of Sheffield. Gen Zers are more conscious of the health repercussions of drinking and avoids becoming intoxicated on purpose.
Unwinding looks different when the cash is tight
Young people are drinking less alcohol for reasons other than being afraid to take risks. Their way of relaxing has altered as well. Experts believe this is linked to their future expectations.
Pennay recounts conducting research in the early 2000s, at a period of heavy drinking and party drug use, and hearing young people discuss hedonistic abandon and wanting to “switch off” by “becoming obliterated and having a wonderful time.” But, of course, it’s now the opposite way around. Pennay revealed that Gen Zers use their vacation time to rest, study, or improve themselves.