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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2011
NCES 2012-002
February 2012

Indicator 15: Students' Use of Alcohol on School Property and Anywhere

In 2009, about 42 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported having at least one drink of alcohol anywhere in the past 30 days, while 4 percent had at least one drink on school property.

Alcohol consumption on school property is an illegal behavior of students, that may lead to additional crimes and misbehavior (Kodjo, Auinger, and Ryan 2003). In the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, students in grades 9–12 were asked whether they had consumed alcohol at all (referred to as "anywhere" in this indicator) during the past 30 days and if they had consumed alcohol on school property.52 In most states, purchase and consumption of alcohol anywhere publicly by students in grades 9–12 (as they are under the legal drinking age of 21) is illegal. Alcohol consumption anywhere is included as a point of comparison with alcohol consumption on school property. Overall, the percentage of students reporting alcohol consumption anywhere in the past 30 days decreased from 48 percent in 1993 to 42 percent in 2009. The percentage of students reporting alcohol consumption on school property in the past 30 days in 2009 was not measurably different from the 1993 percentage (figure 15.1 and table 15.1).

In 2009, 20 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported using alcohol anywhere on one or two days during the past 30 days. Twenty-one percent reported using alcohol anywhere from three to twenty-nine days during the past 30 days, and 1 percent reported using alcohol anywhere all 30 days (table 15.2). In addition, 3 percent of students reported using alcohol on school property on one or two days during the past 30 days, 1 percent of students reported using alcohol on school property from three to twenty-nine days during the past 30 days, and less than one-half percent of students reported using alcohol on school property all 30 days.

Since 2003, there has been no measurable difference between the percentages of male and female students who reported alcohol consumption anywhere (figure 15.1 and table 15.1). However, there were differences in the reporting of how often alcohol was consumed in 2009. For example, a higher percentage of females than males reported consuming alcohol either one or two days out of the previous 30 days in 2009 (23 percent vs. 18 percent). However, a higher percentage of males than females reported consuming alcohol from three to twenty-nine days (22 percent vs. 19 percent). One percent of male students reported consuming alcohol anywhere all thirty days (figure 15.2 and table 15.2). In every survey year, a greater percentage of males reported using alcohol on school property than females (figure 15.1 and table 15.1). For example, in 2009, 5 percent of males reported consuming alcohol on school property at least one time, whereas 4 percent of females did so. Two percent of male students reported consuming alcohol on school property from three to twenty-nine days in 2009, whereas 1 percent of female students did so (figure 15.2 and table 15.2).

In 2009, about one-half (52 percent) of 12th-graders reported consuming alcohol anywhere at least one time during the previous 30 days (figure 15.3 and table 15.1). This percentage was higher than the 2009 percentage of 9th-graders (32 percent), 10th-graders (41 percent), and 11th-graders (46 percent) who reported consuming alcohol anywhere at least one time during the previous 30 days. There also were differences in how often alcohol was consumed anywhere among the grades in 2009 (table 15.2). For example, a higher percentage of 12th-graders (27 percent) than of 9th-graders (13 percent), 10th-graders (20 percent), and 11th-graders (23 percent) reported consuming alcohol anywhere from three to twenty-nine days in the past 30 days. In terms of alcohol use on school property in 2009, there were no measurable differences in alcohol consumption among the grades.

Alcohol consumption anywhere and on school property also varied by racial/ethnic group. In 2009, a smaller percentage of Asian students (18 percent) than of students of any other racial/ethnic group reported consuming alcohol anywhere (figure 15.4 and table 15.1). In addition, a smaller percentage of Black students (33 percent) than of White students (45 percent) and Hispanic students (43 percent) reported consuming alcohol anywhere at least one time during the previous 30 days. Asian students were less likely to consume alcohol on school property (3 percent) than Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian students (10 percent), Hispanic students and students of two or more races (7 percent), and Black students (5 percent); however there was no measurable difference in the alcohol consumption on school property of Asian students and White students (3 percent each).

State level data were available in 42 states for students who reported drinking alcohol anywhere and in 38 states for students who reported drinking alcohol on school property. The percentage of students who reported drinking alcohol anywhere and on school property varied among the states for which data were available. Among these states, the percentage of students who reported drinking alcohol anywhere at least one day during the previous 30 days ranged from 18 percent in Utah to 47 percent in Louisiana, while the percentage of students who reported drinking on school property ranged from 3 percent in Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont to 8 percent in Hawaii and New Mexico (table 15.3).

This indicator repeats information from the 2010 Indicators of School Crime and Safety report. For more information: Tables 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3 and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss5905.pdf).


52 "On school property" was not defined for survey respondents.


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