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56% of surveyed women drink more or as much alcohol compared to before the pandemic

It is no exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in an unprecedented way. The Black Lives Matter protests and social unrest in the United States are similarly unprecedented and may be the largest movement in U.S. history


During times of stress and crisis, people are sometimes driven to substance abuse and may even become addicted to alcohol or relapse to a previous addiction. Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the country, which is why we chose to focus on it in our survey.

Survey method

In July 2020, we conducted a survey via Google Surveys of women in California age 25 or older. Over 1,500 women responded to the survey question:

Since COVID-19 & the BLM protests have started, has your use of alcohol increased?

Our survey results were very consistent with national data: the Alcohol Research Group indicates that 38% of women do not drink at all, and 42.9% of our respondents self-reported as non-drinkers. One important caveat is that 61% of our respondents were 55 or older, which we considered while interpreting the results given that older women have different drinking habits than younger generations.

Survey results

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly not encouraged women to drink less, with only 1% of respondents reporting a reduction in drinking. A stunning 56.0% of women surveyed reported they drink more or the same amount of alcohol, with 4.4% of the total respondents having doubled their drinking or more.

Some women surveyed gave additional insight into their quarantine drinking habits. One respondent specifically mentioned video calls with family as a time to drink, which has become a common option for socializing at a distance. Another said she had quit drinking to get in better shape; that’s quite understandable, given that most gyms are closed or at limited capacity!

Drinking doesn’t have to be the answer

Given that drinking is typically a social activity, we were surprised that the survey results indicated an increase in drinking despite the decrease in opportunity for in-person socializing. The hardships and stress of how different life is during the pandemic and U.S. social unrest make it much more tempting to drink as a stress reliever. While not all drinking habits are unhealthy, problem drinking and alcoholism are more likely than you may expect.

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