July 19, 1984 – National Minimum Drinking Age Changed to 21
The United States is one of the most progressive countries in the world, with skyscrapers, innovative businesses, and a host of creative individuals to fuel them. But did you know that the United States is also one of the few countries in the world with a national minimum drinking age over the age of 18?
With the passing of United States Congress National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, all states are required to legislate the age of 21 as a minimum age for purchasing and being in possession of alcoholic beverages. Although the act itself doesn’t ban the consumption of alcoholic beverages by those under the age of 21, several states including Alabama, Idaho, North Carolina, and Vermont have placed an outright ban on any underage consumption.
A law like the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 isn’t without it’s own history, and it stems from as far back as prohibition. The 18th amendment in 1920 declaring alcohol illegal was repealed by the 21st amendment in 1933, which was followed quickly by a minimum legal drinking age of 21 in most states. The drinking age then fluctuated depending on the state, ranging from 18 to 21, until studies showed an increase in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and many states raised the drinking age again to a minimum of 19.
When the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 passed, it did so with the support of MADD and with the mandate that if a state would not increase its drinking age to 21, they would lose 10% of their federal highway construction funds. By 1995, 50 states were in compliance with the minimum drinking age of 21. In 2010, Guam joined in and increased their minimum drinking age from 18 to 21.