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Landmark Survey: Record-Low Number of College Freshmen Partying


WASHINGTON, DC – Focusing on the job market, and not the party circuit, is the trend at American colleges and universities today, according to results from UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) annual survey. 

The survey revealed that one-third (33.4 percent) of college freshmen reported drinking beer in 2012, an all-time low. That total was down six percent from 2011 (35.4 percent), and 55 percent from its peak in 1982 (73.7 percent).

The CIRP, which began in 1966, is the longest-running study of behavior among college freshmen in the country. Drawn from a national survey of full-time, first-year students entering four-year colleges and universities, the study provides insight into the mind of the American college freshman on everything from emotional well-being to post-graduate priorities and drinking habits.

“Brewers and beer importers make serious efforts to reach out to educators, retailers, law enforcement and community leaders to reduce underage drinking,” said Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute. ”While we recognize there is more work to be done to eliminate underage drinking,  today we have a record number of college freshmen who are making the right choices about drinking. We are encouraged by this reduction, and America’s brewers and beer importers will continue to build upon this success through programs that will further reduce the harmful use of alcohol.”

The 2012 survey also reflected a record low in the number of college freshmen who spend six or more hours partying in a typical week during their senior year of high school. 13.7 percent (an eight percent decrease from 2011) reported “partying,” a dramatic change from the 63 percent reported in 1987, when the question was first asked.

To view the full report, click here.

The 2012 Freshman Norms report is administered nationally by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and based on the responses of 192,912 first-time, full-time students entering 283 four-year colleges and universities of varying levels of selectivity and type in the United States. These data have been statistically weighted to reflect the approximately 1.5 million first-time, full-time students entering 1,613 four-year colleges and universities across the country in 2012. Since 1966, the first year the survey was conducted, more than 15 million students have completed CIRP surveys at 1,900 colleges and universities. The CIRP Freshman Survey is the largest and longest-running survey of American college students.


The Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to the development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility: