Dehydrated nation: Average American falls well short of recommended water drinking goals

NEW YORK — Statistically speaking, Americans are dehydrated. According to a new survey, the average American drinks much less water than they should. The poll of 2,000 people shows that the average respondent only gulps down five glasses of water every day, in comparison to the recommended eight.

Gen Z respondents surveyed drink the lowest amount of water, consuming an average of four cups per day. In comparison, millennials drink five cups, while both Gen X and baby boomers drink six.

Following water (41%), the most common drinks people consume throughout the day include sparkling water (14%), flavored water (12%), and coffee (7%). The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MyMuse, finds that seven in 10 respondents say they would drink more water if it tasted better.

Finding some flavor for bland old water

To make water more interesting to the palate, the majority of respondents (82%) get creative by adding infusions like flavors and fruits to their water. Blueberry (35%), lime (31%), and strawberry (29%) came out on top as the best flavors to add to a glass of water.

With growing awareness of what people are putting into their bodies, six in 10 Americans actively seek out drinks that come with added health benefits such as vitamins and adaptogens (61%). According to the results, seven in 10 are now prioritizing low-sugar and low-calorie options when choosing their beverages (72%).

“The market is filled with flavored water options that are packed with sugars and high in calories,” says the marketing director of MyMuse, Megan Robles, in a statement. “Consumers want beverages that are not only delicious and convenient, but options that they can feel good about with natural ingredients and added benefits for immunity support, all without sacrificing on taste and flavor.”

The survey also found that eight in 10 Gen Z respondents note an increase in their caffeine intake over the past two years. This is higher compared to the 65 percent of millennials and 63 percent of Gen Xers who report the same change.

This lines up with the 65 percent of respondents who also reported an increase in their soda consumption over the past two years. It’s no surprise, then, that 26 percent believe they don’t consume enough water throughout the day. Seventy-one percent of respondents wish that soda or juice had the same benefits as water.

“When it comes to the data, it’s clear that while the consumer demand for soda is high, they are also looking for better-for-you options,” adds Robles. “We are rapidly seeing the soda preference shift to where consumers want no artificial flavors ingredients in their beverages, they are looking for a drink that can make them feel good and be part of their everyday lifestyle.”

What do your flavor preferences reveal about you?

The survey also uncovered the personality differences between those who prefer still water (35%) and those who prefer sparkling water (17%). Results show people who like still water report feeling healthier (77%) than those who prefer sparkling water (64%). Also, still-water drinkers report being happier (80%) compared to sparkling water drinkers (63%).

What type of water you prefer may say something about your sleeping habits, too. Those who stay up late tend to like sparkling water (32%), while those who like still water wake up earlier (29%). When it comes to music, still-water fans like rock (47%), while sparkling-water fans prefer hip-hop (50%).

For TV, both groups enjoy comedy shows (52% of still water fans and 48% of sparkling water fans). But, they have different least favorites — fantasy is the least favored genre among still water fans (3%), while sparkling water fans aren’t into supernatural shows (2%).

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by MyMuse between August 11 and August 14, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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