One third of Caribbean Netherlands population do not drink alcohol

A recent survey has shown that one in three people aged 15 and older in the Caribbean Netherlands did not drink alcohol during the 12 months prior to the survey. Half of women and one quarter of men in the Caribbean Netherlands had not drunk alcohol in the past year. One in eight men drink excessively, compared to one in 30 women.

Fewest female drinkers on St Eustatius

Sixty percent of women on St Eustatius reported that they had not had an alcoholic drink in the past year. That is more than on Bonaire, where half of women had not had a drink. Relatively fewer  women on Saba had not drunk alcohol: 36 percent.

People (15 years and older) in Caribbean Netherlands who had not drunk alcohol in the past year, 2013

People (15 years and older) in Caribbean Netherlands who had not drunk alcohol in the past year, 2013

Men drink more and more often

The proportion of men in the Caribbean Netherlands who do not drink alcohol is much smaller than that of women. Furthermore, relatively many more men than women can be classed as heavy or excessive drinkers. On Bonaire 19 percent of men are heavy drinkers and 10 percent excessive drinkers. For women on Bonaire this is 3 percent for both categories. On St Eustatius, 24 percent of men are heavy drinkers, and 16 percent excessive drinkers, on Saba these percentages are 15 and 14 percent respectively. 

A heavy drinker is defined as someone who drinks six or more alcoholic units a day, on at least one day a week. Excessive drinkers drink more than 21 units per week (men) or more than 14 units a week (women).

Heavy and excessive drinkers (15 years or older) in Caribbean Netherlands, 2013

Heavy and excessive drinkers (15 years or older) in Caribbean Netherlands, 2013

Fewer drinkers, especially women, than in European Netherlands

Twenty percent of the population in the European part of the Netherlands did not drink alcohol in 2012. This percentage is almost twice as high in the Caribbean Netherlands: 39 percent. There are larger differences between men and women on the islands. The percentage of heavy drinkers in the Caribbean Netherlands is comparable to that in the European Netherlands. The proportion of female heavy drinkers is 4 percent points smaller than in the European Netherlands (11 percent), but much larger among men (19 percent versus 15 percent). The picture is similar for excessive drinkers.

Alcohol use in Caribbean Netherlands in 2013 and in European Netherlands in 2012

Alcohol use in Caribbean Netherlands in 2013 and in European Netherlands in 2012

Henk van de Velden and Christianne Hupkens