More and more young adults are quitting alcohol - here’s why Gen Z is off the booze

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During The Project Peter Pan - launched as the UK heads toward a general election in 2024 - we will look at the challenges facing young adults today - including looking at the changes being made in their social lives

Birmingham is a great night out, with many stylish and lively bars throughout the city centre, Brindleyplace and Broad Street.

The likes of Moseley, Harborne and Edgbaston are also city neighbourhoods that are home to some brilliant independent pubs and music venues, but are young people still as eager to go for a night out these days?

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Being in my late 20s, I certainly don’t have as many nights out as I did during my university years or early 20s. That seems to be a relatively common theme, although some research suggests Gen Z (Those born from 1997) aren’t hitting the bars and clubs like previous generations before them.

Drinkaware’s most recent study of drinking behaviours showed that in 2019, 16-to-25-year-olds were the most likely to be teetotal, with 26% not drinking, compared to the least likely generation (55-to-74-year-olds), 15% of which didn't drink. This suggests a significant number of Gen Z are shifting their focus away from drinking alcohol.

But why are plenty of younger people avoiding the booze these days?

Well, the figures also show there was a surge of alcohol consumption during the pandemic, but there has been a decline in drinking since. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s true that people, younger and older, are taking better care of their health with many embracing a sober lifestyle. People may have also become more accustomed to staying at home during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.

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Enjoying beers at the pubEnjoying beers at the pub
Enjoying beers at the pub | Syda Productions - stock.adobe.c

This increasing focus on healthy living may also be inspired by the endless Instagram reels and videos of gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts social media users are exposed to. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re a bar owner.

As well as the benefits to your physical health, there are also the mental health benefits. Emily, a 28-year-old teacher, recently told the BBC that her hangovers were "worse than ever", lasting "two or three days" and making her feel "anxious all the time".

"I barely have anxiety anymore,” she said of quitting alcohol.

Social drinking in bars and pubs is ingrained in British culture, and that probably won’t ever change. But if young people are turning away from social drinking, it’s not something that should be sniggerd at due to the physical and mental health benefits.

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