Geek Trivia

The Country With The Highest Per Capita Alcohol Consumption Is?

When Divers Get "The Bends", It's Triggered By A Buildup Of?

Answer: Belarus

If you guessed Russia, we’re willing to forgive your error and, generously, even give you a sympathy point for the guess. Not only is Russia in fourth place on the top ten list of top alcohol consuming countries, but out of the top ten countries, nearly every one of them, Russia aside, were part of former Russian empires in the past and were liberated either during the Russian Revolution or the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The top consumer, Belarus, falls into this category. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence from Russia, was then conquered by Soviet Russia, and once again became independent after the fall of the Soviet Union. But enough about the political history of the country—let’s focus on the thing that really matters. Belarusians (and their geographic neighbors like the Russians, Ukrainians, and Poles) really like to drink.

How much do they like to drink? The per capita consumption of pure ethanol among the citizens of Belarus ages 15 and up is 17.5 liters. Keep in mind that isn’t 17.5 liters of off-the-shelf alcohol, that’s the volume of pure alcohol. If we dilute that alcohol-per-volume down to, say, 40 percent (or 80 proof), to match the average ABV of vodka, then we end up with 43.75 liters of off-the-shelf vodka. In the region, the average shot of hard liquor is 50 ml, so further crunching the numbers, we arrive at the average per capita alcohol consumption of a Belarusian as 875 shots per year (or 2.4 per day).

If you’re reading this in the U.S., as most of our readers are, and you’re curious how that compares to the per-capita-consumption in the ol’ USA, know that we’re 48th on the list. When the math is all hashed out, we only average 23 liters of off-the-shelf-liquor per year which works out, in European-style 50 ml shots, to a mere 460 shots per year (or 1.3 per day).

Image courtesy of Vmenkov.