Corona year 2020: 40% fewer children and young people in hospital due to alcohol abuse than the year before

Press release no. N024 of 6 May 2022

  • Number of cases in all age groups lower than 2019, but the decline is particularly large among young people
  • The risk of alcohol poisoning among young people remains highest
  • Significant gender differences visible

WIESBADEN – Canceled festivals, closed bars, contact restrictions – as a result, significantly fewer people were admitted for alcohol abuse in the first year of the Covid 19 pandemic. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), about 12,200 children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20 were treated as hospitalized in Germany in 2020 for acute alcohol abuse. That was 39.7% less than in 2019. At that time, there were about 20,300 children and young people.

Across all age groups, there were 76,200 cases in 2020, about a quarter (-23.8%) fewer hospital treatments for acute alcohol poisoning than in 2019. The decrease can be observed in all age groups, but it falls most in the age group 15 to under 20 years ( -41.7%) and in the 20 to under 25-year-olds (-41.5%) out of. For comparison: In the age group 40 to under 45 years and among the 60 to under 65 years, the number of cases decreased by 12.2% each.

The results show a sharp decline in 2020 due to corona, but the number of cases is still higher than at the turn of the millennium. In 2000, there were about 54,000 cases in total, 41.1% fewer than in 2020 with 76,200 cases. The figures for 10 to under-20s in 2020 are more than a quarter (+ 28.6%) higher than 20 years ago. In 2000, there were about 9,500 inpatients in this age group; in 2020, there were 12,200 cases. Demographic effects play a minor role here: The number of cases per per capita also shows an increase across all age groups compared to the year 2000.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 20 are particularly vulnerable

Despite the declining number of cases due to corona, the risk of alcohol poisoning among young people is still particularly high: by 2020, the majority of cases were registered in the age group of 15 to under 20 years with 9,900. This is followed by the 50 to under-55s with 8,400 cases. The different levels of impact on individual age groups are even clearer in the data per per capita: in 2020, the age group of 15 to under 20 years had the highest value of all age groups with almost 254 cases per capita. 100,000 inhabitants. For comparison: In the age group 50 to under 55 years, there were 126 cases per. 100,000 inhabitants.

Men tend to drink more than women

The data also indicate gender differences. By 2020, about 54,300 men across all age groups had to be hospitalized due to alcohol abuse, which was 71.2% of all cases. The proportion of men across all age groups, with the exception of the age group 10 to under 15 years of age (proportion of men: 39%), is significantly higher than the proportion of women. The difference is most pronounced in the age group 60 to under 65 years with a male share of 77%.

Methodological notes:

The information on hospital treatments is based on hospital statistics. This is the number of treatment cases. Multiple counts of a person are possible if the patient was hospitalized several times in a year due to the same main diagnosis.

In 2020, the number of hospitalizations in almost all areas decreased due to the corona pandemic. The figures fell particularly sharply in the medical field, where, among other things, treatments that were not urgently needed could be discontinued to free up clinic capacity.


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