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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2021

Alcohol Use

Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used during adolescence. Its use is associated with motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and deaths; problems in school and the workplace; and fighting, crime, and other serious consequences. Early onset of binge drinking, defined here as five or more alcoholic beverages in a row or during a single occasion in the previous 2 weeks, may be especially problematic, potentially increasing the likelihood of these negative outcomes.89

Indicator BEH2: Percentage of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students who reported having five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the past 2 weeks by grade, 2000–2019
Indicator BEH2: Percentage of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students who reported having five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the past 2 weeks by grade, 2000–2019

NOTE: Data for 10th graders for 2008 are not included because estimates are considered to be unreliable due to sampling error. See http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/09data.html#2009data-drugs.

SOURCE: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monitoring the Future Survey.

  • In 2019, the percentages of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students who reported binge drinking remained steady compared with 2018.
  • Binge drinking declined from 12% in 2000 to 4% in 2019 for 8th-grade students, from 24% in 2000 to 9% in 2019 for 10th-grade students, and from 30% in 2000 to 14% in 2019 for 12th-grade students.
  • In 2019, about 4% each of male and female 8th-grade students reported binge drinking; among 10th-grade students, the proportion was 9% for males and 8% for female students. Sixteen percent of 12th-grade male students reported binge drinking compared with 12% of 12th-grade female students.
  • Among 8th graders, 3% of White, non-Hispanic; 2% of Black, non-Hispanic; and 5% of Hispanic students reported binge drinking. In the same year, 10% of White, non-Hispanic; 4% of Black, non-Hispanic; and 9% of Hispanic 10th-grade students reported binge drinking. Among 12th graders in 2019, 18% of White, non-Hispanic; 7% of Black, non-Hispanic; and 11% of Hispanic students reported binge drinking.

table icon BEH2 HTML Table

89 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2004/2005). Alcohol and development in youth—A multidisciplinary overview. Alcohol Research and Health, 28(3), 107–176. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh283/toc28-3.htm