Recent research shows that Gen Z is, on average, less interested in binge drinking alcohol than millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers are.
These young people are also responsible for the growing “sober curious” movement across the country, embracing less or no alcohol use.
However, Generation Z may be experiencing more drug misuse compared to previous generations.
Generation Z Substance Abuse Statistics
Members of Gen Z have a notably different approach to drinking than older generations. For example, only 30% of Gen Z drinks weekly compared to 58% of baby boomers.
Millennials started the downward trend in overall alcohol consumption, and Gen Z seems to be following it, as many young people are going sober or never used alcohol.
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Why Is Gen Z Less Interested In Alcohol?
There are several reasons for Gen Z’s decreased interest in alcohol. These range from simply not caring for it to wanting to practice “mindful drinking.”
One in three young people who decide not to drink do so because of their health, and a similar number of young people don’t like the taste of alcohol.
Other popular reasons for changing drinking habits include wanting to save money or having concerns about becoming addicted. Gen Z also believes that not drinking can boost their social standing.
Many people are choosing to use marijuana over alcohol, which may be attributed to people considering marijuana a “safer” substance.
This makes it difficult to know if Generation Z is the most sober generation overall, but when it comes to alcohol use, young people today are trending toward sober.
Gen Z And The Sober Curious Movement
Gen Z has coined the term “sober curious” to describe their lessening interest in substance use, particularly alcohol. The trend has become so popular that businesses are beginning to respond to it.
While people who are sober curious may or may not be completely abstinent from drugs or alcohol, they are making an active effort to reduce their use.
One study found that 34% of people in the Gen Z age group are making an effort to drink less, while 24% don’t drink at all.
The same study also discovered that one in four Americans are familiar with the sober curious movement, showing that it has already had an impressive reach on social media.
The Rise Of Sober Bars
A particularly interesting trend coming out of the sober curious movement is alcohol-free bars, which are popping up in more cities throughout the United States.
Sober bars serve non-alcoholic drinks like mocktails or non-alcoholic beer and wine. There’s an emphasis on the mixology, flavors, and craftsmanship of the drinks.
Nearly half of younger-generation Americans are interested in visiting a sober bar, and roughly 40% wish there were options for alcohol-free or low-alcohol bars in their area.
Benefits Of Sobriety
Gen Z’s lack of interest in alcohol could result in some significant mental and physical health benefits throughout their lives.
It’s becoming increasingly well-known that alcohol can have a worsening effect on mental health symptoms, and abstaining can result in a more stable mood and better self-esteem.
There are also health-conscious benefits that include a decreased risk of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, or liver disease. Additionally, not using alcohol can boost brain cognition, focus, and memory.
Other benefits range from better sleep to slower skin aging. You may also experience better relationships with friends, family, and other loved ones with reduced alcohol use.
No matter what someone’s reason is for not drinking, it’s always a choice that can improve both their life and the lives of those around them.
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Published on September 11, 2023
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- Drinkaware – Alcohol Consumption UK
- National Library of Medicine – Age and Generational Patterns of Overdose Death Risk from Opioids and Other Drugs
- NC Solutions – Sober Curious Nation: One in Three Americans are Trying to Drink Less Alcohol in 2023