The age at which a person in the United States first has a drink should be 21, as it is the legal drinking age. Of course, we know well that many people do not adhere to this law and drink before it is legally permitted.
What is, then, the average age someone takes their first drink in this country?
The vast majority of people drink early
If you’re a parent who is worried about a child drinking underage, or who cannot believe that their child would do so, it’s very important to note that this is something most Americans do. And it’s not even very close.
For instance, when they were polled, a full 77% of Americans noted that they were younger than 21 at the time of their first drink. That’s more than three-quarters of the country.
While some of this drinking begins between 18 and 21 — think of early college students — many are actually still minors. The same reports note that about 60% of those polled claimed they were under 18 when drinking for the first time. If your child had 200 peers in their graduating class, this suggests that 120 of them had at least a single drink.
This isn’t to excuse underage drinking, per se, but it does show parents that their children are not alone and that this is something most people do. Likewise, there are many legal solutions and defense options if a minor is charged with underage drinking or possession of alcohol. It’s important to know what these are, especially if you are worried about the impact that these legal charges are going to have on your child’s future.