Friday, May 26, 2006

Ethnic groups and alcoholism: A reader asked about ethnic differences in alcohol abuse. In an earlier post, I summarized the GSS data on admitting to sometimes drinking too much:

Everybody knows that the Irish drink more than other Americans, right? (Curse you, you evil stereotypers.) Wrong, it's those sodden Swedes! The numbers are high among northern Europeans and go down as we move toward southern Europe. Asians are very low, as are Arabs. Blacks and Mexicans are in the middle. As for Puerto Ricans: if you take a tour of the Bacardi plant in San Juan, you will get to see the "Cathedral of Rum." And the Russians have really let me down here.

By the way, I suspected that Russian Americans were low because half of them are Jews, but the non-Jewish Russians do not have high numbers either.

The GSS also asks if you have a drinking problem. Here is the percentage who answered "yes"(many ethnic groups were left out since their sample sizes are too small):

1. Germans 2.6%

2. Irish 2.5

3. Blacks 2.4

4. American Indians 2.2

5. Poles 2.0

6. Italians 1.8

7. Mexicans 1.1

8. English 0.7


  1. Anonymous5:47 PM

    If you believe that only 2.2% of American Indians have a drinking problem, I would like to sell you a bridge.

  2. I agree. Forty-two percent of them admitted they sometimes drink too much--50% of men and 35% of women.

  3. Anonymous2:53 PM

    So are "sometimes drink too much" and "have a drinking problem" points 3 and 4 on the 4 point scale of how much you think you drink? I was kind of confused by the difference between the "drinking problem" numbers here and the order-of-magnitude-higher "drink too much" numbers listed in the gay-bi-straight post a few items down. Also, how large was the sample size for the gay-bi-straight post? Especially for the bisexual men - their level of effed-upness seems so high...

  4. Respondents were asked dfferent questions in different years. In the first, they were asked about having a drinking problem--yes or no--the second asked if you sometimes drink too much--yes or no.

    On the data for bisexual men, the sample sizes were very small (about a dozen if I remember right)so you are right to raise concern about them. Contrary to popular beliefs, there aren't many bisexuals, men or women.

  5. There's a very old saying in Chicago, from early in the 20th Century:

    "He's as drunk as seven Swedes."

  6. Anonymous9:15 PM

    I really enjoyed looking at your site, I found it very helpful indeed, keep up the good work.

  7. Anonymous4:33 AM

    Interesting site. Useful information. Bookmarked.

  8. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Great site loved it alot, will come back and visit again.

  9. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I find some information here.


What's the profile of a person who believes astrology is scientific? (Answer: the exact opposite of me)

Clearly, anyone who believes that astrology is scientific doesn't understand what science is, but how common is this belief, and what...