How Do Americans Spend Their Time?

Employed persons worked an average of 7.6 hours on the days they worked, according to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

On the days they worked, employed men worked 42 minutes more than employed women.  BLS says this difference partly reflects women’s greater likelihood of working part time. However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women–8.2 hours compared with 7.8 hours.

On an average day, 85% of women and 67% of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management. On the days they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.1 hours.

On an average day, 22% of men did housework—such as cleaning or laundry—compared with 50% of women. Forty-three percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 70% of women. Men were slightly more likely to engage in lawn and garden care than were women—12% versus 8%, respectively.

NEXT: Leisure activities

On an average day, nearly everyone age 15 and older (96%) engaged in some sort of leisure activity such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. Of those who engaged in leisure activities, men spent more time in these activities (5.8 hours) than did women (5.1 hours).

Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.8 hours per day), accounting for more than half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and older. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for 41 minutes per day.

Men were more likely than women to participate in sports, exercise, or recreation on a given day—23% compared with 18%. On days they participated, men also spent more time in these activities than did women—1.7 hours compared with 1.2 hours.

On an average day, adults age 75 and older spent 7.8 hours engaged in leisure activities—more than any other age group; 35- to 44-year-olds spent 4.0 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities—less than other age groups.

Time spent reading for personal interest and playing games or using a computer for leisure varied greatly by age. Individuals age 75 and older averaged 1.1 hours of reading per weekend day and 20 minutes playing games or using a computer for leisure. Conversely, individuals ages 15 to 19 read for an average of 8 minutes per weekend day  and spent 1.3 hours playing games or using a computer for leisure.

Employed adults living in households with no children younger than 18 engaged in leisure activities for 4.5 hours per day—1.1 hours more than employed adults living with a child younger than age 6.

More information from the ATUS is here.