If the new year’s record-setting COVID-19 surge is any indication, much of America has counterintuitively returned to a pre-pandemic mindset. Following a down year for Dry January participants in 2021, there’s a significant boost in interest among adults who drink alcohol to give it up entirely for the first month of 2022.
It’s a return to CivicScience’s last projection before the pandemic, when more than four in ten alcohol consumers said they were at least somewhat likely to take a hiatus. Considering twice as many Americans plan to quit drinking and smoking compared to last year, it only makes sense to start with a dry month.
The Dry January participants are also a significantly younger bunch than they were for 2021. More than half of all drinkers between the ages of 21 and 34 are at least somewhat likely to abstain from alcohol this month. The youngest alcohol consumers, between ages 21 and 24, were just 18% likely to consider a Dry January last year.
Frequent beer drinkers are by far the least likely to consider a Dry January, while weekly and monthly beer drinkers track with the Gen Pop’s interest levels. That said, nearly one-quarter of regular beer drinkers might pursue a dry first month.
Nearly half of all Americans currently concerned about being in public spaces to some extent are at least somewhat likely to give Dry January a try. This far outpaces those who aren’t concerned at all about going out in public. These figures track closely with Americans who have major events (weddings, conferences, festivals) planned in the next month, where drinking isn’t typically uncommon.
Americans who have used CBD (cannabidiol) products but don’t like them outpace all other adults in Dry January intent, with CBD intenders clocking in not far behind. So perhaps there’s a significant enough chunk of adults looking to swap out their drinking habit for alternative products, at least for now.
So while COVID-19 kicks into another gear this month, Americans might give up January drinking at levels seen just before the pandemic began. Whether you chalk it up to the recent surge in binge drinking, overall pandemic fatigue, or a desire to turn the page to a healthier year, Dry January – or at least the intention to give it a chance – is back in a big way.