Number of Americans drinking hits 25 year high: poll

Tue Aug 3, 2010 12:15pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Whether it's a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of booze, Americans are drinking alcohol at the highest rate in 25 years, according to a Gallup poll.

People who imbibe tend to be more educated and wealthier than those who abstain, the Gallup telephone survey showed.

Sixty-seven percent of the 1,020 adults questioned in the poll said they drank alcohol and 41 percent said beer was their favored beverage.

Gallup said that the percentage of Americans who drink alcohol has been remarkably stable. The high point for drinking in the United States was in 1976-1978 when 71 percent said they drank alcohol. This year's figure was the highest since 1985.

Residents along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts are more likely to prefer wine than those living elsewhere, according to the poll. And beer remains the drink of choice in the Midwest.

More men preferred beer to wine, while the opposite was true for women. About 22 percent of men and 21 percent of women said they preferred liquor.

Slightly more than 80 percent of people who said they earned at least $75,000 annually also identified themselves as drinkers.

(Writing by Leslie Gevirtz; Editing by Patricia Reaney)

<p>Bud Light and Budweiser beer is shown in a cooler at the Toluca Mart liquor store in Los Angeles, June 16, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>