Page last updated: June 2022

Alcohol consumption in India

The National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5), 2019-21 found that the proportion of Indian men and women drinking alcohol has fallen consistently over the past 15 years. Men’s consumption fell from 32% in 2005-06 to 29% in 2015-16 and then sharply down to 22% in in 2019-21. Women’s consumption has consistently stayed low, slipping from just over 2% 15 years ago to 1% in the last two surveys. Alcohol consumption among both men and women is higher in rural India than in urban India. (among women 1.6% (rural) and 0.6% (urban), and among men 19.9% and 16.5% respectively.
Of all states, Arunachal Pradesh has the highest proportion of both men (53%) and women (24%) who drink alcohol. The level of alcohol consumption among men is 30-40% in parts of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, and a few districts of Odisha. It is below 30% in the remaining parts of India, and the lowest in Lakshadweep (0.4%).
Alcohol consumption is more common among those from the Scheduled Tribes than from any other caste/tribe groups; this is true of both women (6% consumption among STs) and men (33%). Among religious groups, the proportion of men who drink alcohol is higher among those belonging to “other religions” (47%) than among those belonging to the Hindu (20%), Muslim (5%), Christian (28%), Sikh (23.5%), Buddhist/Neo-Buddhist (24.5%) and Jain (5.9%) religions.
All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.