Facts & Figures

Alcohol consumption in Nordic and Baltic countries

The amount of alcohol-related harm in any society tends to rise and fall in line with changes in the total or average level of consumption. The more alcohol is consumed by a society, the higher its level of alcohol-related harm is likely to be. The lower its level of consumption, the lower its level of harm. Alcohol consumption is defined as annual sales of pure alcohol in litres per person aged 15 years and over. Still, different countries have different methods and also capabilities for measuring alcohol use. Some publish per capita use, divided among population from birth to death. The methodology to convert alcoholic drinks to pure alcohol may differ across countries. Official statistics do not include unrecorded alcohol consumption, such as home production. Italy reports consumption for the population 14 years and over, Sweden for 16 years and over, and for Japan 20 years and over. In some countries (e.g. Luxembourg), national sales do not accurately reflect actual consumption by residents, since purchases by non-residents may create a significant gap between national sales and consumption.