It’s Homecoming weekend in Kingston, which means a few things: first, I gotta work; second, it’s probably a good time to reflect on drinking.
I was as surprised as most to learn recently that almost one in eight students at the university — somewhere around 11 or 12% — don’t drink. I guess it’s not that astounding, when you factor religion, health, personal decisions, athletes, and other things into the mix. But at certain times of the year, it feels like 100% of the campus is kind of boozed up. Hopefully responsibly!
It is, though, kind of a reflection of how we see drinking. One in eight is a pretty noticeable number. It’s not small. One in ten is still an awful lot! But the overwhelming perception is that all of ’em do.
When I extrapolate that to my adult life, it feels the same. Everyone drinks! Right? But not everyone does. I can’t think of many people I know personally who doesn’t, but maybe they cluster differently. I’m sure more people STOP after university than START after university, so that number’s gotta be higher than one in eight. The NIAAA doesn’t have super clear stats on this in an ongoing way, but about 13% of the people in the US never drank in a 2015 survey, so that’s your baseline. More depressingly, 27% of people reported that they binge-drank in the last month, which once you factor in the 13% or more non-drinkers is… hm. Oy.