Alcohol consumption, a few numbers
Two great graphs, from gnxp (there’s more at the link):
The ‘wordsum’ variable above is a vocabulary test; a higher score indicates that an individual has a more extensive vocabulary.
This report (pdf) concludes that in Denmark, “there’s no (/significant? /clear? /obvious?) connection between average alcohol-consumption and length of education.”
(“Der er ingen tydelig sammenhæng mellem gennemsnitligt alkoholforbrug og
uddannelseslængde, men umiddelbart har skoleelever det højeste gennemsnitlige forbrug.”)
I’m not sure that’s the right conclusion to draw and they make no attempt to justify it, they just state it as if it was a fact without any further comments. Here’s a graph of the results:
I have excluded from the graph the two variables ‘skoleelev’ and ‘anden skoleuddannelse’ because I have no clue precisely what those varibles mean and who they include (both relate to people somewhere in the educational system, but that’s all I know). Does a high school student belong to the ‘skoleelev’ or the ‘anden skoleuddannelse’ segment? When is something a ‘skoleuddannelse’? I have no idea. Stuff like that can just really make me mad – the communication here is so damn poor that I’d rather throw away the results than post them here. Anyway, I was surprised that people with the shortest education drink (much) less than average and less surprised that people with a long education drink more than average. I’d assumed that the relationsship between education and alcohol consumption was v-shaped. Maybe selection bias is at work here, I don’t know, but these data certainly do not support the hypothesis of a v-shaped relationsship. The reason why I believe their conclusion (‘no connection btw…’) is incorrect is that there do seem to be a relationsship between education and alcohol consumption; it looks like people without much schooling drink much less than average and that people with a relatively long education drink more than average. No, you can’t draw a straight line, but who says the ‘relationsship’ should necessarily be a straight line? The fact that alcohol consumption varies widely across education levels is a clear sign that the two variables are in fact connected, even if we don’t know precisely how they are connected. Note that these numbers are not age-adjusted and that I’ve taken out people from the educational system. There are a lot more 20-30 year old plumbers who’re no longer in the educational system than there are people with phd’s. That’s another way to say that the group of people with long educations should actually be drinking less than the other groups, all else equal, because they’re on average a few years older (and ‘older’ here means ‘drink less’ for the relevant age demographic).
The report has a lot more data. Some of the results are quite surprising. Here’s one bit that took me by surprise: ‘41,9 % of the participants think that it is ok to drink alcohol in order to become inebriated. 58,1 % do not think it is ok.’ (41,9% af deltagerne i denne undersøgelse mener, at det er i orden at drikke alkohol for at blive beruset. Tilsvarende mener 58,1% at det ikke er i orden.). Ok – so more than half don’t think it’s ok to drink alcohol in order to get drunk? Seriously?