The Legal Drinking Age in the World

The Minimum Legal Drinking Age or MLDA is the minimum age at which point someone is legally allowed to buy and drink alcohol. The laws on MLDA cover a great range of issues which includes when and where alcoholic drinks can be consumed and differ in each country. Most of the countries have set MLDA at 18 years old or 19 years old.

The United States along with 19 other countries have the highest set of legal drinking age. However, there are parts of India that have drinking ages that are as high as 25 to 30 years. There are some countries, particularly Muslim countries; alcohol is entirely banned, with an exception made for non-Muslims sometimes.


Even though most of the countries all over the world have set the legal drinking age at 18 years, the age of 16 is known to the youngest legal drinking age. There are at least 8 countries that have set their legal drinking age at 16 years old. Some of the countries that follow this legal drinking age are the British Virginia Islands, Barbados, Cuba, Luxembourg, Serbia, Zimbabwe, and Panama.

In these countries, selling, giving, or offering alcoholic drinks to people under the age of 16 are considered an offense. But in the country, Zimbabwe, it is allowed for anyone to sell or supply alcoholic drinks to kids as long as they have proof that may come in the form of a letter signed by parents or guardians.

There several reasons that have been given for the laws and regulations when it comes to the minimum legal drinking age. For some people, letting minors consume alcohol can affect their studies. Alcohol can also affect one’s behaviors negatively.

However, the main reason for banning minors from consuming alcohol until they reach a certain age is how alcohol affects young people’s brain. Because their brains are still in the process of maturing, alcohol might come with a negative effect on their memories as well as long-term thoughts. Alcohol can also lead to complications like hormonal imbalance and liver failure in minors because of the continuous changes in their bodies as their body develops, particularly throughout puberty.

Okay, so this may come as a surprise… there’s no such thing as the common drinking age. Just about half, or about 83 out of the 178 countries on our list don’t have any kind of minimum drinking age restriction. However, a lot of these nations do have a minimum purchase age that varies from the age of 14 to 20 years old. In these countries, minors are allowed to drink in their own home, something with the presence of an adult, but it’s restricted in public. A lot of these countries have age terms on the alcohol by volume or ABV, on top of the kind of alcohol being consumed.

The average minimum legal drinking age all over the world is 10.3. At least 93 countries don’t apply age restriction on drinking alcohol. And of the countries that have higher legal drinking ages, 18.6 is considered to be the average.

The implementation of legal drinking ages also depends broadly between countries. In a lot of nations, officers normally don’t implement the law in the absence of abuse.
Globally, the average age at which drinking alcohol first takes place is at the age of 12 to 13. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 80% of youth start drinking alcoholic alcohol on a regular basis by age 15 or younger.

It is necessary to distinguish the two types of age laws. The first type sets the minimum ages for drinking alcoholic beverages. Countries might have age regulations for drinking under several conditions. For instance, for drinking in public, with parents, on private property, with the approval of parents, etc. Or they might be a combination of different conditions.

The second type of minimum drinking age is for buying alcoholic drinks at the store. Again, laws might set different conditions. For instance, a person might be able to buy low alcohol proof beverages legally but not the ones that have high proof content.
Generally, countries or nations set a minimum age for purchasing alcohol based on the age they set for legal drinking age. However, a lot of listings of drinking ages essentially use for drinking ages and purchase ages differently. 

The central African Republic, Ethiopia.

Zimbabwe, The British Virgin Islands, Serbia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Palestine, Luxembourg, Italy, Cuba, Barbados.

The Gambia, Malta, Cyprus, Brunei.

Zambia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Vanuatu, Uruguay, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uganda, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Turk and Caicos Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Tonga, Tokelau, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Syria, Switzerland, Sweden, Swaziland, Spain, South Sudan, South Africa, Slovenia, Slovakia, Singapore, Seychelles, Senegal, San Marino. Rwanda, Republic of the Congo, Puerto Rico, Poland, Philippines, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Norway, North Korea, Nigeria, Niger, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Netherlands, Nepal, Myanmar, Mozambique, Montenegro, Mongolia, Moldova, Micronesia, Mexico, Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Liberia, Lesotho, Lebanon, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Jordan, Israel, Ireland, India, Hungary, Hong Kong, Honduras, Haiti, Guyana, Guatemala, Grenada, Gibraltar, Ghana, Germany, Georgia, Gabon, France, Finland, Fiji, Falkland Islands, Estonia, El SalvadorEritrea, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Denmark, Czech Republic, Croatia, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas,Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia,Bosnia and Herzevogina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Albania, Andorra.

United States, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Palau, Oman, Northern Mariana Islands, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Guam, Equatorial, Guinea, Egypt, American Samoa.

Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan, Maldives, Libya, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Bangladesh, Algeria, Afghanistan.

Western Sahara, Tunisia, Togok Macau, Kosovo, Guinea-Bissau, Cambodia, Bahrain, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Angola.

When it comes to the research that has been conducted, it has been seen that countries that have set their legal drinking ages between the ages of 16 and 19 have found less accidental related deaths because of alcohol consumption, on top of less binge drinking. Nations that have higher legal drinking ages, like the United States, for example, receive a much higher death rate because of alcohol consumption and experience higher rates of alcohol addiction and drunk-driving-related accidents.

While a lot of data suggests that setting the legal drinking age would teach the younger generation how to drink responsibly, it does not seem like the law will change anytime soon.

Hopefully, this article has answered as to what is the legal age for drinking in different countries. So, what do you think about this? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comment box below! For more articles like this, make sure to browse through this blog.

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