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What are the demographics of alcoholism?

Is alcoholism more prevalent in certain races?
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  • The demographics of alcoholism differ between countries, but generally, poverty, unemployment, low education and discrimination are risk factors, while cultural and religious norms of abstention can be protective factors, as can social networks and strong communities.
    In many contexts, ethnic minority groups are discriminated and face more stress factors such as poverty and unemployment, and thus you sometimes find more alcoholism in those groups, unless there are other protective factors. But the explanation would be socioeconomic factors, not “race”.
    Alcoholism is an illness that has both a genetic and a social component, and both of these components are fairly complex. But, to the best of my knowledge, population patterns of alcoholism seem to depend more on sociocultural factors than on genetics. The term “race” is a socially constructed category which has fairly limited scientific meaning - since the genetic and social variations within so-called “races” are large and the overlap between groups also large. Generally, it makes more sense to talk about ethnicity or nationality or immigrant status or population groups, depending on what the question is. But in some countries, for instance the US or South Africa, “race” has acquired a special importance, due to the history of strong racial segregation which has given different population groups very different experiences historically, something which still has an impact on population health. But even in those countries, the variation within so-called “races” is very large. If you are interested in “race” and alcoholism in the US, I recommend reading for instance: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publication...
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