National evidence suggests that older people on average drink more regularly than younger people, although binge drinking is more common in younger age groups (see Cause and risk factors section).

Locally, there are also marked differences in drinking patterns across age groups, according to responses to the Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey. As shown in Figure 7, those aged 25-34 are more likely to be drinking at high risk levels than younger adults or those aged 65 and above. Survey respondents aged 25-44 were also less likely to say they don’t drink compared to younger adults.  Table 4 reports self-perceptions of drinking behaviour by these same age groups.

The age groups with the highest rate of non-drinkers are those aged sixteen to twenty-four and those aged sixty-five plus.
Figure 7: Reported drinking behaviour of Hackney adult residents based on AUDIT-C score, by age (2015)

Source: Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey (2015)

Notes: Based on a sub-sample size of 960.


Table 4: Perceptions of drinking behaviour among Hackney adult residents, by age (2015)
16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Non-drinker 54% 36% 33% 34% 32% 44%
Drink within perceived safe limits 41% 46% 51% 48% 49% 45%
Drink over perceived safe limits 5% 17% 16% 16% 17% 11%

Source: Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey (2015)

Nationally, fewer 15-16 year-olds drink now than previously, but those who do drink tend to start younger, drink more, and have more positive expectations of alcohol compared with their European or US peers. 1Recent evidence has also shown a sharp rise in alcohol-related teenage poisoning in the UK over the last 20 years. 2




  1. C. Healey, A. Rahman, F. Mohammad and P. Kinderman, “Underage drinking in the UK,” International Journal of Drug Policy, vol. 25, no. 1, p. Pages 124–132, 2014.
  2. University of Nottingham, “Sharp rise in UK teen poisonings over past 20 years, particularly among girls,” 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 19 September 2016].