Demographic Insights in Alcohol-Related Deaths

Over the past two decades, deaths associated with alcohol abuse have increased, but little data point to demographic changes.

alcohol deaths


Over the past 20 years, deaths associated with alcohol abuse have increased significantly in the US, with the  highest incidence seen in the Hispanic population (9.1 per 100,000).1 Because data in this area are sparse, Spillane and colleagues2 sought to determine how demographics influenced alcohol-induced deaths in a cross-section study of US citizens aged 15 years and older (N = 425,045 alcohol-induced deaths). They looked at data on age, gender, race/ethnicity, geography, socioeconomic status, and so on.

The researchers found a substantial increase of alcohol-associated deaths among both men and women. The most noteworthy increase by race/ethnicity was seen in Native American and Alaskan Native men and women and in white women. The rates of increase varied by age group as well as by racial/ethnic group. Large increases were seen in midlife among white individuals. Among Native Americans and Alaskan Natives  increases throughout the age range were seen, with the highest increases occurring in men aged 45 to 49 years and women aged 50 to 54 years.

Findings from this study indicate large increases in alcohol-induced deaths, which have accelerated over the past few years. The authors conclude, "Refecting on the consequences of alcohol-related morbidity and mortality through the age range, our findings document an urgent public health crisis calling for concerted public health action."2


1. QuickStats. QuickStats: age-adjusted death rates attributable to alcohol-induced causes, by race/ethnicity: United States, 1999-2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66:491. Accessed February 27, 200.

2. Spillane S, Shiels MS, Best AF, et al. Trends in Alcohol-Induced Deaths in the United States, 2000-2016. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3:e1921451. Accessed February 27, 2020.

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