OBJECTIVE: To analyse the effects of migration and urbanisation on alcohol intake among a population of Greenland Inuit. STUDY DESIGN: Population-based cross-sectional study of 4,139 Inuit randomly selected from Denmark and four areas of western Greenland. Data collection was based on interviews and self-administered questionnaires. METHODS: The association between different aspects of alcohol intake (quantity of intake, occasional heavy drinking, and the modified CAGE questionnaire) and place of living were analysed using a chi-square test and logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: The population living in Denmark had a higher mean alcohol intake than those living in Greenland. Drinking above the sensible drinking limits (21 drinks per week for men and 14 drinks per week for women; where one drink contains 12 g alcohol) was also more prevalent in the population living in Denmark, whereas a higher proportion of those living in Greenland was abstaining. In contrast to the higher alcohol intake in the population living in Denmark, a higher proportion of individuals with episodes of heavy drinking (binge drinking), was observed in both large and small communities in Greenland. A higher proportion of positive results on the modified CAGE test, measuring alcohol dependence, were also seen in large communities in Greenland. We found no statistically significant differences in alcohol intake between Inuit living in large and small communities in Greenland. When comparing Inuit living in Denmark according to length of stay in Denmark, we found a significantly increase in prevalence of binge drinking with length of stay, while no significant variation with length of stay was found for other alcohol parameters. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the alcohol intake among Inuit, living in Denmark and in Greenland respectively, differs in relation to total intake, drinking patterns and a measure of alcohol dependence. Whether this may be attributed to urbanization, or to migration, is not clear.