A.A. Survey Shows Key Role of Health Caregivers

March 1, 2006

Results of the newest Membership Survey of Alcoholics Anonymous confirm growing trust and transparency in the relationships between alcoholics and their health caregivers – doctors, nurses, counselors and others – who, in turn, appear to be more informed about A.A. Seventy-seven percent of members’ doctors know they are in A.A., and 39% of members said they had been referred to A.A. by a health care professional. Sixty-four percent said they had received some type of treatment or counseling before coming to A.A., and, of these, 74% said it had played an important part in directing them to Alcoholics Anonymous.


The typical A.A. member has been sober more than 8 years, is now 48, and attends an average of two meetings a week; 86% belong to a home group.

The percentage of women in A.A., which climbed steadily from 22% in 1968 to 35% in 1989, is holding, after a minor dip or two, at that figure.

Random anonymous surveys have been conducted by the General Service Office of A.A., New York City, about every three years since 1968. Their main purpose has been to keep A.A.s informed about current trends in membership characteristics and to provide information about the Fellowship to the professional community and the general public as part of the ongoing effort to help those who suffer from alcoholism. Questionnaires for the latest 2004 survey were completed by approximately 7,500 U.S./Canada members, ranging in age from teens to nonagenarians. Some other findings:

Length of Sobriety – 36% of respondents say they have been sober more than 10 years; and 14%, 5-10 years. In response to prior queries, 24% say they have been sober from 1-5 years and 26%, less than one year. These totals indicate that more alcoholics in A.A. are staying sober longer.

Sponsorship – The percentage of members who are sponsored (by another A.A. has held steady over the years and is now 78%; of these, 70% said they had connected with their sponsors within their first 90 days in A.A.

Introduction to A.A. – In this category, which addresses the factors most responsible for members coming to A.A., the number of respondents who said they had been referred by a health care professional (a question new to this category) was 39%, as noted. Respondents were free to cite two reasons. Those who said they had been self-motivated were 30%. Other factors cited: referred by a treatment facility, 31%; through an A.A. member, 31%; through family influence, 23%; by court order, 11%; through a counseling agency, 8%; by a health care provider, 8%; by an employer or fellow worker, 5%, and referred by a member of the clergy, 1%.

Additional Help – After coming to A.A., 65% of the members received some type of medical treatment or counseling. Of these, 84% said it had played an important part in their recovery.

Ages of Members – Reflecting the general aging of the population, the average age of A.A. members seems to climb a digit or two with each survey and is now 48, as noted, with those aged 41-50, 33%; 61-70, 11.5%; and over 70, 4.8%. Those under 21 constitute 1.5%; and 21-30, 7.9%.

Composition of Members – The 2004 Survey indicates that A.A. members in the U.S. and Canada are: white, 89.1%; black, 3.2%; Hispanic, 4.4%; Native American, 1.8%; Asian and others, 1.5%.

Occupations – These continue to cover a broad spectrum: Self-employed, 11%; Manager/Administrator and Professional/Technical, each 10%; Skilled Trade, 9%; Health Professional and Laborer, 6%; Sales Worker, 5%; Service and Clerical workers, Educator and Student, each 3%; and Homemaker and Transportation (equipment operator), each 2%. Six percent of the respondents said they were unemployed; another 6% described themselves as disabled (not working); and 14% were retired.

Marital Status – Respondents who were married, 38%; single, 29%; divorced, 24%; separated, 5%; and widowed, 4%.

Key findings of the 2004 survey are available in an updated version of the leaflet “Alcoholics Anonymous Membership Survey.” To order, write to the General Service Office, Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163. The pamphlet can be found online in the Media Resources section of the A.A. Website, www.aa.org.

Media inquiries should be directed to:

Public Information Coordinator (212) 870-3119 or publicinfo@aa.org

View this page in: Español | Français