Prague, Czech Republic – With an average annual consumption of 11.6 litres of pure alcohol per capita, Czechs are the fourth-heaviest drinkers in the world, according to the OECD, which just released its health statistics for 2019.
Topped only by Lithuania (12.3 litres of pure alcohol per capita), Austria (11.8 litres) and France (11.7 litres), the Czech Republic has – among OECD countries – one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption per person.
Although not as prolific drinkers as Czechs, the average Hungarian gulps down a whooping 11.1 litres of pure alcohol per year (8th highest tied with Russians). Poland (10.6 litres) and Slovakia (9.7 litres) also rank above the OECD yearly average of 8.9 litres per capita (down from 10.2 litres in 2007).
In almost every country, alcohol consumption has significantly decreased over the past decade, with the most staggering drops recorded in Russia, Estonia, Greece and Denmark. Poland is one of the few countries – along with China, India, Mexico and Israel – where alcohol consumption per capita has increased since 2007.
While not always correlated with the overall consumption levels, the share of dependent drinkers reaches its highest level in Latvia (over 10%), followed by Hungary and Russia (around 9% each). In every single OECD country, men are much more vulnerable to alcohol addition than women (see graph below).
Alcohol use is a leading cause of mortality and disability worldwide, accounting for an estimated 7% of male and 2% of female deaths according to the OECD.
In order to curb excessive drinking habits among their population, Central European countries, including Poland and the Czech Republic, recently decided to increase the taxes on a number of alcoholic drinks.
Note: the recorded alcohol consumption data presented in the report is defined as the annual sales of pure alcohol in litres per person aged 15 years old and above.