Estonians biggest spenders on alcohol


Estonians splash out more of their household spending on alcohol than any other nationality in the EU – 5.2% in 2017, according to the latest data.

Next up are Latvians, who spent 4.9% in 2017, with Lithuanians a distant third on 4.0%. Spaniards spend the least, a mere 0.8% last year.

The figures were for household consumption only: alcohol bought in restaurants and hotels was not included.

The outcome is not a one-off. According to the EU statistics agency Eurostat, Estonians, Latvians and then Lithuanians also spent the most on household alcohol in 2016, 2015 and 2007.

Add tobacco and narcotics into the mix, however, and Estonians fell into second place in 2017, with 8.1% of their household spending going on this unhealthy mix. They were just pipped by Luxembourgers, on 8.3%.

The EU as a whole spent €131 billion on household alcohol last year. This averages out at €300 per person.

Luxembourgers spent the most per person in absolute terms – an average of €800 each. Icelanders, who are not in the EU, also spent on average €800 each, while Finns spent €600 and Estonians €500.

According to a 2015 OECD report on harmful alcohol use, between 1990 and 2010, alcohol rose from eighth to fifth in a ranking of the worldwide causes of death and disability.

People with more money and education are more likely to drink alcohol, the report said. However, it said that less educated and poorer men, as well as better educated and richer women, are more likely to indulge in risky drinking.

Words: Craig Nicholson
Photo: Andrew Mager

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