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Vietnamese Drank More Alcohol in Pandemic-Hit 2020, Data Shows

In a year marked by social isolation, Vietnam’s alcohol consumption increased considerably, though it’s not difficult to figure out why. 

Data from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO) shows that the country’s consumption of alcoholic beverages rose from 0.9 liters per person per month in 2018 to 1.3 liters in 2020, reports Zing. The numbers come from a report by the GSO on the national standard of living.

This report is only conducted every two years, specifically on even years. Over the past 10 years, this figure had remained under 1 liter in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018. In 2016, the average alcohol consumption hovered at around 1 liter.

The result also suggests that Vietnamese from well-off households drink almost twice as much alcohol per month (2.4 liters) as those in poor households (1.3 liters). However, drinkers from rural regions consume slightly more alcoholic beverages on average (1.4 liters) than their urban counterparts (1.2 liters).

Regarding general expenditure, the GSO reports that citizens spend VND2.89 million a month, accounting for a modest 13% increase compared to 2018. The rate was 18% between 2016 and 2018. Experts believe that the pandemic last year dampened the national average income, leading to more conservative spending patterns and more saving.

On average, members of urban households spend 1.6 times more per month than those in rural regions. The Southeast Region — comprising economic powerhouses like Saigon, Dong Nai and Binh Duong — has the country’s highest income, and thus the highest spending, at VND3.9 million per person per month, 17.3% more compared to 2018. On the other extreme, household members of the Northwest Region only spend VND2.1 million monthly.  

It’s no secret that drinking is an integral part of Vietnamese culture, but it was only until recently that local laws started to catch up on regulating its impact on society. Starting from January 2020, stringent regulations prohibiting drunk driving regardless of blood alcohol concentration took effect.

In November of the same year, another law went into implementation imposing a fine on coercing others to drink and underaged drinking.