The recently released National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) for 2019-2021 has found that only 1% of women, aged 15-49, drink alcohol in the country, compared to 22% of men.


What does the data suggest?

  • The percentage of women who consume alcohol is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh (18%), followed by Sikkim (15%).
  • Alcohol use among men is the highest in Goa (59%), followed by Arunachal Pradesh (57%), and Telangana (50%), while it is the lowest in Lakshadweep (1%).
  • Among women who drink alcohol, 17% consume it almost every day and 37% drink about once a week. Among men, while 15% consume almost daily, 43% drink about once a week, and 42% do less than once a week.
  • Drinking alcohol is more common among women from Scheduled Tribes (4%) than from any other caste/tribe group. Consumption is also most common among Christian men (36%) and men belonging to “other” religions (49%).
  • Overall the proportion of men who drink alcohol decreased from 29% to 22% between NFHS-4 in 2015-2016 and NFHS-5 in 2019-2021. During that period, the proportion of women who drink has remained unchanged.


What is NFHS?

NFHS is a large-scale nationwide survey of representative households. The data is collected over multiple rounds. The MoHFW has designated International Institute for Population Sciences in Mumbai as the nodal agency and the survey is a collaborative effort of IIPS; ORC Macro, Maryland (US); and the East-West Center, Hawaii (US). The survey is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with supplementary support from UNICEF. This is the fifth NFHS and refers to the 2019-20 period. The first four referred to 1992-93, 1998-99, 2005-06 and 2015-16, respectively.