Nearly half of Costa Rica’s population abstains from drinking, according to a World Health Organization study released this week. The global report showed the nation as consuming much less alcohol per capita than the American average.
At 5.4 liters of alcohol a year, Costa Rica’s rate of consumption for both sexes was also less than the world average of 6.2 liters. Male drinkers in the country almost double the amount of female drinkers.
More than a quarter of the population over the age of 15 says they have never drunk alcohol in their lives.
The calculated average accounts for a beverage’s pure alcohol percentage and population size, so the number means each Costa Rican citizen would consume an average of 5.4 liters of pure alcohol in a year.
The country shows a strong preference to beer, as the malty stuff accounts for 60 percent of total alcoholic intake compared to 35 percent for liquor and a mere 5 percent for wine.
In terms of health, the report details that there are many who abuse alcohol, as it’s the nation’s most consumed drug. According to the World Health Organization, public health care is one of the bigger factors when looking at the prevalence of alcohol in different societies.
“Many of these differences are mitigated, but not entirely removed,by the universal availability of health care within the society,” the report reads. “Where there is unequal access to treatment or other resources, the health and social consequences of a given level or pattern of drinking are also likely to be more severe for those with less resources.”
Compared to Costa Rica, the United States with 9.2 liters a year and Canada with 10.2 liters came in with far higher rates of alcohol consumption per capita. The report states that more than 3 million deaths occur every year that stem from alcohol.