« You’re right, the rich are different | Main | What's the best way to write a cover letter? »

August 12, 2021

Study: The rich drink more than the rest of us

Today, in an interesting Everydaymoney piece, colleague Gordon Powers detailed how rich people are – despite any objections – different from the rest of us.

In essence, he noted, the wealthy are less likely to be as charitable as those earning normal incomes, according to a University of California study.

And yes, he’s right. The rich are different. They also drink more.

Indeed, if we’re counting the ways the affluent make themselves dissimilar from the rest of society, let’s not discount this piece of juicy info from the market researcher Gallup.

According to their recent study – in which participants divulged their annual income and were asked “Do you have occasion to use alcoholic beverages … or are you a total abstainer?” – Gallup’s results suggest that, almost definitely, people drink more based on their yearly earnings.

Note the accompanying chart, which does little to dissuade that thinking. About 46 per cent of participants earning less than $20,000 per year said they have “occasion” to drink, as opposed to those earning $20,000-$29,000 (51 per cent), $30,000-$49,000 (66 per cent), $50,000-$74,999 (78 per cent) and more than $75,000 (81 per cent.)

Now, we’re not going to take these results as scripture, of course. Who’s to say people were entirely honest about their drinking and, moreover, what’s to lead us to believe there’s anything of shame to drinking on “occasion,” in the words of the study?

Still, the findings do paint a picture opposite to what we’ve been led to believe about alcoholism. It’s the stereotype of the world that says poor people drink more, and especially during the recession, that’s been the case.

In fact, not but earlier this year we read a report saying downturn-ravaged consumers weren’t drinking less, they were just drinking worse. “We are too poor for fancy alcohol” read the Consumerist headline in describing how liquor sales had maintained but shifted toward favouring cheaper, discount brands.

Who knows if these Gallup results, then, are the most accurate portrayal, or if they just mean rich people are attending charity balls with open bars more than ever these days?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

(*Image source: Gallup/New York Times.)



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...