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College Freshman Survey Shows Significant Decline in Drinking, Partying

Annual surveys of first-year college students confirm the findings of several national surveys of high school students. They all document a significant long-term decline in drinking among Americans of this age. The American Freshman: National Norms reports from UCLA (CIRP/HERI) show the same double-digit declines in drinking over the last decade as the Monitoring the Future and other national surveys do. And the Freshman Survey also shows a sharp increase in the percentage of students who did not party during their senior year in high school and a sharp decline in the percentage who partied heartily (3+ hours per week) during that final year. Finally, the surveys also indicate that, contrary to popular opinion, beer is less popular than wine/spirits among college freshmen.

The 2014 survey of over 153,000 students showed that 33.5% of college freshman reported drinking beer occasionally or frequently during their final year of high school. That was down 26.4% over the last decade, 15% over the last five years. The percentage of freshmen who drank wine or spirits fell by a similar 25.4%, over the last decade. The same students were asked how many hours they typically spent partying per week during their senior year. The percentage who said none jumped by almost 75% to 41.3%. And the percentage who spent 3 or more hours per week partying fell by 40% during the decade. Ref 2

The American Freshman: National Norms
2004 2009 2014 % Chg
Alcohol Beverages*
Drank Beer 45.5 39.5 33.5 -26.4
Wine/Spirits 51.9 44.4 38.7 -25.4
Partying in HS Hrs/Wk
None 23.8 30.3 41.3 73.5
3+ Hours 43.1 36.8 25.7 -40.4
*"frequently" or "occasionally" in final yr of HS


Publishing Info

  • Year: 2015
  • Volume: 32
  • Issue #: 2
Read 3222 times

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