Age Youth First Drink

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Percent of Students Reporting That They First Had More than a Few Sips of Alcohol at Age 13 or Younger, All Available Years: by Grade, Gender, and Region

All Grades19.9%22.7%21.3%15.9%17.6%16.7%
East Central11th19.7%23.8%21.8%16.0%18.6%17.3%
All Grades22.7%26.6%24.7%18.5%20.3%19.4%
All Grades17.5%19.2%18.3%14.3%14.8%14.5%
All Grades22.4%26.4%24.4%18.0%20.9%19.4%
All Grades23.8%27.8%25.8%19.8%23.5%21.7%
All Grades25.2%30.3%27.7%19.3%22.6%21.0%
All Grades20.9%24.9%22.9%16.4%19.3%17.8%
All Grades20.6%25.0%22.9%16.2%21.1%18.7%
West Central11th18.3%23.6%20.8%17.6%19.5%18.6%
All Grades22.6%25.3%23.9%19.7%20.9%20.3%

About the Indicator:

The average age at which young people ages 12 to 17 begin to drink is 13 years old. 

According to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 20.3% of 9th graders and 15.2% of 11th graders nationally reported they first drank alcohol before age 13 years.

N/A or * indicates that the data are unavailable or were not collected.

Data Source: Minnesota Student Survey (MSS)

Description: The MSS is a confidential and anonymous self-administered survey given to students attending Minnesota public, charter and tribal schools. From 1995 to 2010, the survey was administered to students in 6th, 9th, and 12th grades. New in 2013, the survey was administered to students in 5th, 8th, 9th, and 11th grades. Trend data are now only available for 9th graders, and only for survey questions that did not change. Most schools elect to participate in the survey; in 2013, this included 84% of public schools in Minnesota.

Although the data are not presented here, the survey is also administered to area learning centers, juvenile correction facilities and private schools electing to participate.

Sponsored by: Minnesota Department of Education

Geographic Level: State, Region, and County

Aggregated data at the state and county level do not reveal disparities that may exist within a given geographic area.

Frequency: Data collected and reported every three years

Characteristics: The results of the MSS are also available at a county level. Data Privacy requirements mandate that data is presented in a manner such that no individual student can be identified through the presentation of the results. As part of the Data Privacy practices, the results are also presented in a manner that no individual school district could be identified through the results. Therefore, for counties that have only one school district, the results are not presented. Results are also withheld for counties in which the minimum number for student participation was not met.

The MSS is a “census” of schools, not a sample. The school districts get their own data. Fifth-graders were not asked all substance use questions. Some school districts do not participate, and student participation within the school district can vary widely. These data are self-reported.