How many 15-year-old boys drink alcohol weekly in Europe?

  • A. 16%
  • B. 32%
  • C. 48%

Correct answer

16% of 15-year old boys drink alcohol weekly in Europe.

Option B would have been correct in 2002, when 32% of 15-year old boys in Europe consumed alcohol on a weekly basis. Option C has never been true anywhere in the world for this age bracket. According to the World Health Organization, there has been a large reduction in weekly alcohol use in most countries and regions between 2002 and 2014 (the most recent available data, published in 2018). Good news, right?!

Data source

The evidence for the correct answer comes from the World Health Organization:

Europeans think young boys drink alcohol like it’s 2002

Our French respondents were almost as good as the chimps on this question, with 31% correct answers. In Germany the figure was 26%, while in the UK just a fifth (21%) of respondents knew the answer. Apparently, almost half of the people we asked overall still think they’re living in 2002… especially in the United Kingdom, where the largest decreases happened!

Why do people pick the wrong answer?

Because they think that the world was better in the past.

It’s tempting to believe the world was better in the good old days. You know: youngsters were better behaved than they are now, everything was cheaper, there was less crime… many people fall into the trap of thinking this way.

But it’s just not true. In a great many ways, the world has never been better than it is now… and young people definitely drink less now than they did in the past.