What Role Do Changes in the Demographic Composition Play in the Declining Trends in Alcohol Consumption and the Increase of Non-drinkers Among Swedish Youth? A Time-series Analysis of Trends in Non-drinking and Region of Origin 1971–2012

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Non-drinkers among youth in Sweden have increased markedly during the last 15 years. The aim of this study is to investigate the temporal association between region of origin among Swedish youth and rates of non-drinking.

Data and method

Data on non-drinkers were obtained from The Swedish Council on Information and Other drugs (CAN) yearly school surveys among Swedish ninth-grade students over the period 1971–2013. Annual data of region of origin for 1968–2012 has been compiled from Statistics Sweden (SCB) and consists of all 15-year-olds in Sweden and their region of birth; Sweden, The Nordic Countries, Europe, The Middle East and the rest of the world. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) modelling was applied in order to estimate these associations.


Descriptive results revealed a change in the demography of Swedish 15- to 16-year-olds. In the early 1990s 1% of Swedish 15- to 16–year-olds were born in a Middle East country, this proportion increased to 6% in 2012. Furthermore, those born in the rest of the world (non-European or non-Nordic countries) increased from 1% to almost 4%. Similarly, the trend of non-drinkers increased from about 20% to more than 40% among Swedish 15- to 16-year-olds during the same period. However, a more thorough analysis using ARIMA modelling revealed no significant association between rates of region of origin and non-drinking.


The marked increase in non-drinkers during the last 15 years is not associated to changes in the demographic composition, in terms of region of origin, among Swedish youth.

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