Two-thirds of Americans reported that they consume alcohol at least occasionally, according to the poll conducted July 9-12. When asked how many drinks they had in the past week, 34% of these drinkers said none, 52% said one to seven, and 12% said eight or more.
Gallup found that 22% of drinkers said they sometimes drink too much, up from 17% last year. This year's figure, however, is similar to the percentages in most other years over the past decade, according to a statement from the research firm.
When asked which kind of alcohol they drink most often, 39% of those surveyed said beer, 35% said wine and 22% said liquor. However, these numbers hide a gender divide in preference. The slight majority of male drinkers, 55%, said they most often drink beer, followed by liquor at 21%, and wine at 20%. Among female drinkers, meanwhile, 52% said they most often drink wine, with the rest divided over liquor and beer, according to Gallup.
In addition, men tend to drink more, the survey found, with male drinkers reporting they consumed 6.2 drinks, on average, in the past week, compared with 2.2 for women. Younger men, ages 18-49, are the heaviest drinkers of any age group or gender, with 36% saying they sometimes drink too much, compared with 18% of older men (ages 50 and older), 20% of younger women (ages 18 to 49), and 8% of women 50 and older.
Gallup found that whites are more likely to drink than nonwhites, and they report drinking more alcohol than nonwhites (4.5 drinks on average in the past week, compared with 3.3 drinks for nonwhites).
The survey results were based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,014 adults, ages 18 and older, living in the United Sates. The poll had a margin of error of four percentage points, according to Gallup.