Drinking in the past year

In 2018/19, almost 4 in every 5 New Zealand adults (80.3%) drank alcohol in the past year. This equates to 3,162,00 adults aged 15 years or over. 

More males (84.5%) than females (76.3%) reported drinking in the past year. Click here to see the full results from the large New Zealand Health Survey.

Factsheet: Drinking in the past year


Comparison between subgroups (adjusted by age/sex /ethnic group)

The 2018/19 New Zealand Health Survey found that:

  • Men were 11% more likely to drink than women.
  • Māori (total) were 4% more likely to drink than non-Māori women.
  • Māori women were 7% more likely to drink than non-Māori women.
  • Pacific people (total) were 25% less likely to drink than non-Pacific people
    • Pacific men 21% less likely, and
    • Pacific women 29% less likely.
  • Asian people (total) were significantly 31% less likely to drink than non-Asian people (total)
    • Asian men 22% less likely,
    • and Asian females 42% less likely.
  • Men/women living in the most deprived neighbourhoods were significantly less likely to drink than men/women living in the least deprived neighbourhoods.

Changes in past-year drinking over time

Past-year drinking in the total New Zealand adult population significantly decreased between 2006/07 and 2011/12, stabilised until 2017/18, and then significantly increased between 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Between 2017/18 and 2018/19, significant increases in past-year drinking were found among: 

  • The total NZ population (78.7% in 2017/18 to 80.3% in 2018/19)
  • Total Māori population (79.7% to 83.4%)
  • Māori men (80.1% to 85.3%)
  • Total Pacific population (54.4% to 61.2%)
  • Pacific women (49.4% to 56.4%)
  • Asian women (44.5% to 49.6%)
  • 75+ years olds (66.2% to 71.5%).

Click here to see the data.