Certain ethnic and racial minorities as well as other underserved populations experience more negative consequences of illness and premature death than other groups. These health disparities often affect groups including:
  • Hispanics
  • Blacks
  • Native Americans
  • Rural and economically disadvantaged populations
While Hispanics and Blacks have relatively fewer alcohol use disorders than do non-Hispanic whites, ethnic and racial disparities still exist for alcohol-related diseases, problems, and deaths in these groups. These disparities are evident in:
Patterns of drinking
In general, Hispanics and Blacks have higher rates of complete abstinence from alcohol than non-Hispanic whites and other groups. But those who do drink consume more alcohol and often have higher rates of binge drinking.
Alcohol and health consequences
  • Cirrhosis death rates are very high among white Americans of Hispanic origin, lower among non-Hispanic Blacks, and lower still among non-Hispanic whites.1
  • Hispanics and Blacks have a higher risk for developing alcohol-related liver disease than whites.2
  • Alcohol-related traffic deaths are many times more frequent among Native Americans or Alaska natives than among other minorities.3
  • Self-reported rates of DUI are highest among mixed race and Native Americans and Alaska Natives.4
  • Hispanics are overrepresented among drunk drivers and DUI-related fatalities.5
  • Between 2001 and 2005, alcohol played a role in 11.7 percent of all Native American deaths, which is more than twice the rates of the general American public.6
NIAAA research addresses health disparities in the following areas:
Epidemiology and Prevention Research
Treatment and Health Services Research
Neuroscience Research
Infrastructure Development
Learn more about NIAAA’s strategy on addressing Health Disparities.

1 2009-2013 Health Disparities Strategic Plan, p.4
2 Ibid, p.4
3 Ibid, p.4
4 Ibid, p.4
5 Ibid, p.4
6 Ethnicity and Health Disparities in Alcohol Research, Chartier and Caetano http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh40/152-160.htm