Alcohol Availability and Targeted
Advertising in Racial/Ethnic
Maria Luisa Alaniz, Ph.D.
Alcohol availability and advertising are disproportionately
concentrated in racial/ethnic minority communities.
Although research on alcohol availability and alcohol
advertising in racial/ethnic minority communities is lim-
ited, evidence does show a relationship between minor-
ity concentration, alcohol outlet density, and alcohol
problems. This article reviews research showing that
certain neighborhood characteristics, such as alcohol
outlet density, can be stronger predictors of homicide and
violence than are race or ethnicity.
availability; advertising; minority group; racial group;
violence; societal AODR (alcohol and other drug related)
problems; African American; Hispanic; Asian American;
California; Louisiana; alcoholic beverage sales outlet;
location and density of AOD outlet; poverty; immigrant;
prevention campaign; community-based prevention; lit-
lcohol availability and advertising are disproportion-
ately concentrated in ethnic minority communities.
(Alaniz in press; Hackbarth et al. 1995; Altman et
al. 1991). Research has shown a direct relationship between
alcohol availability (measured by the number of bars, restau-
rants, and stores selling alcohol in a specific geographical area,
such as a city block) and alcohol-related problems, such as
violence (Alaniz et al. 1998; Parker and Rebhun 1995;
Scribner et al. 1995). Alcohol outlet density also is an impor-
tant determinant of the amount of alcohol advertising in a
community. Community advocates and local policymakers
have formed coalitions across the country to limit the quantity,
operation, and types of alcohol outlets in their communi-
ties. Such coalitions have succeeded in various cities, such
as Baltimore, Chicago, south central Los Angeles, and
Oakland, California. This article reviews recent research
on alcohol availability and advertising in ethnic minority
communities and associated alcohol-related problems. In
addition, the article discusses one community’s efforts to
reduce these problems.
Overall, research on alcohol availability and alcohol adver-
tising in racial/ethnic minority communities is limited. This
review focuses on two minority groups, African-Americans
and Latinos, in cities in California (Alaniz et al. 1998;
Scribner et al. 1995) and Louisiana (Scribner et al. in press).
(Alcohol availability and advertising among other groups,
such as Asian-Americans, have not been studied at the
In the studies reviewed, alcohol availability
is measured either by the number of outlets in a given
geographical area (e.g., a group of city blocks) or by the den-
sity of outlets in an area (i.e., the number of outlets for every
1,000 residents in an area). Two types of outlets exist: (1) on-
site, where alcohol is consumed on the premises, and (2) off-site,
where alcohol is purchased for consumption off the premises.