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Drinking Age By State

Drinking Age By State
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Introduction

When it comes to the contentious issue of alcohol consumption, particularly among youth, the United States has a diverse legal landscape. While the federal legal drinking age is set at 21, the complexities at the state level, combined with the potential exceptions and variances, create a complex environment.

In the US, the vast majority of states have accepted the federally suggested legal drinking age of 21, but many have carved out specific exceptions within their laws. These exceptions could range from private consumption of alcohol by minors under direct family supervision to consumption in specific locations or in connection with religious customs, educational contexts, or medical situations. 

  • A substantial number of states have legislation that coded with 'Family+Location exceptions', signaling that minors can consume alcohol in certain environments and under the supervision of family members.
  • Some states permit underage drinking exclusively in the presence of family members.
  • A few states allow the consumption of alcohol by minors only under specific 'Location exceptions'.

Full Data Set

Frequently Asked Questions

Methodology