Retirees Spend More Time on Leisure Activities Than Others

The Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey reveals the average amount of time per day in 2018 that individuals worked, did household activities, engaged in leisure and sports activities and provided childcare.

Watching TV is the leisure activity Americans spend the most time doing, according to the 2018 American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Americans spent 2.8 hours per day watching TV, accounting for just over half of all leisure time, on average.


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. Men spent 49 minutes per day more in these activities than did women (5.7 hours, compared with 4.9 hours). And, on average, adults age 75 and older spent 7.8 hours engaged in leisure activities per day—more than any other age group, while 25- to 44-year-olds spent a little over 4 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities per day—less than other age groups.


Socializing and communicating, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, accounted for an average of 38 minutes per day, and was the next most common leisure activity after watching TV. Individuals spent about twice as much time socializing on weekend days (59 minutes) as on weekdays (29 minutes).


Time spent reading for personal interest varied greatly by age. Individuals age 75 and older averaged 48 minutes of reading per day whereas individuals ages 15 to 54 read on average for 10 minutes or less per day.


On average, persons ages 15 to 24 spent the most time playing games or using a computer for leisure—about one hour per day. Men were more likely than women to participate in sports, exercise, or recreation on any given day—21% versus 17%, respectively. On days that they participated, men also spent more time doing these activities than did women—1.7 hours, compared with 1.3 hours.