If you asked most people which generation consumes the most alcohol, you’d likely hear the all-too-familiar phrase “millennials”. However, a new study by the University of Michigan, entitled Monitoring The Future, led to some interesting news: baby boomers are drinking more than all of us.
That’s right, not millennials, not teenagers, but baby boomers are are the generation that experts agree are consuming alcohol at a rather alarming rate. Now, the baby boomers have always been known to like booze more than the “silent” generation that came before them, but many people just assumed that this was a trend that was going to be continued by future generations. As it turns out, that isn’t the case at all.
The study found that teenagers and young adults today are consuming alcohol at significantly lower rates than the young Americans of ten years ago. What the study was not able to identify is why. However, there are a number of theories out there as to why this is happening.
The most plausible hypothesis is that people socialize differently today than they did a decade ago. Ten years ago, people used to hang out in person a lot more–which means someone coming buy with a cooler full of beer was a lot more likely. Now, people can be incredibly social without ever leaving their house. From social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, to popular streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch, the younger generation of today has a lot more options when it comes to socializing. A lot more options that don’t involve alcohol.
Conversely, baby boomers grew up with alcohol acting as the primary social lubricant. An increasing number of people from that generation have adopted the philosophy that moderate alcohol use is actually healthier than abstaining. Whether that is actually true or not seems to be rather irrelevant.
Now, it is entirely possible that as this younger generation ages they turn to alcohol more. The numbers we have now tell us that this is unlikely, but it is possible. For now, all we can do is continue to monitor alcohol usage and look for patterns.