You Busy?

FInally I've found the bomb of a resource to help determine the truth of my contention that everybody complaining so much about "being too busy with important stuff" tells you less about people doing necessary activities than about people choosing to do things they a) don't need to do and b) often do suboptimally and c) think are necessary when in fact they are simply preferences.

American Time Use Survey Summary
Technical information: (202) 691-6339 USDL 05-1766


For release:  10:00 A.M. EDT
Media contact:                691-5902     Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor
reported today that in 2004:

--Employed persons worked 7.6 hours on average on the days that they
       worked.  They also worked longer hours on weekdays than on weekend
       days--7.9 versus 5.8 hours.

--On the days that both worked, employed men worked about an hour more
       than employed women--8.0 versus 7.2 hours.

--Married persons spent more time doing household activities than
       unmarried persons--2.1 versus 1.4 hours per day--and women, regard-
       less of marital status, spent more time doing these activities than

--On an average day, persons age 65 and over spent the most time--7.3
       hours--participating in leisure and sports activities of any age
       group; 35- to 44-year-olds spent the least time--4.2 hours.

This second annual release of ATUS data focuses on the time Americans
worked, did household activities, cared for household children, and par-
ticipated in leisure and sports activities in 2004.  This report also
includes new measures of time use by occupation, earnings, and marital

ATUS data collection began in January 2003.  The survey is sponsored
by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
ATUS estimates for 2004 are based on interviews of about 14,000 individuals.
Respondents were interviewed only once and reported their activities for the
24-hour period from 4 a.m. on the day before the interview until 4 a.m. on
the day of the interview--their "diary day."  If respondents reported doing
more than one activity at a time, they were asked to identify which activity
was primary.  Except for secondary childcare, activities done simultaneously
with primary activities were not collected.  Activities were then grouped
into categories for analysis.  For a further description of the survey, see
the Technical Note.

- 2 -

"Average Day" Measures

"Average day" measures for the entire population provide a mechanism
for seeing the overall distribution of time allocation for society as a
whole.  The ATUS collects data about daily activities from all segments
of the population age 15 and over, including persons who are employed,
unemployed, or not in the labor force (such as students or retirees).
Data also are collected for both weekdays and weekends.  Thus, "average
day" measures developed for the entire population reflect the average
distribution of time across all persons and days.  Activity profiles
will differ based upon age, employment status, gender, and other charac-
teristics.  On an "average day" in 2004, persons in the U.S. age 15
and over slept about 8.6 hours, spent 5.2 hours doing leisure and sports
activities, worked for 3.7 hours, and spent 1.8 hours doing household
activities.  The remaining 4.7 hours were spent in a variety of other
activities, including eating and drinking, attending school, and shopping.
(See table 1.)  By comparison, persons employed full time who worked on an
average weekday spent 9.2 hours working, 7.5 hours sleeping, 3.0 hours
doing leisure and sports activities, and 0.9 hours doing household activ-
ities.  The remaining 3.4 hours were spent in other activities, such
as those described above.

Many activities typically are not done on a daily basis, and some activ-
ities only are done by a subset of the population.  For example, only
46 percent of all persons age 15 and over reported working on an average
day because some were not employed and others were employed but did not
work on their diary day.  For this reason, much of the analysis that
follows uses time-use estimates that are restricted to specific population
groups, such as employed persons or adults in households with children.

Working (by Employed Persons)

--Employed persons worked 7.6 hours on average on the days that they
       worked.  They also worked longer hours on weekdays than on weekend
       days--7.9 versus 5.8 hours.  (See table 4.)

--Many more people worked on weekdays than on weekend days.  About 83
       percent of employed persons worked on an average weekday, compared
       with 33 percent on an average weekend day.  (See table 4.)

--On the days both worked, employed men worked about an hour more than
       employed women.  The difference partly reflects women's greater like-
       lihood of working part time.  However, even among full-time workers
       (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked slightly
       longer than women--8.3 versus 7.8 hours.  (See tables 4 and 6.)

--About 76 percent of persons employed in management, business, and
       financial operations occupations reported working on a given day--a
       greater share than those employed in any other occupation.  Ninety-two
       percent of people in these occupations worked on a given weekday and
       33 percent worked on a given weekend day or holiday.  (See table 5.)

--Employed women living with a child under age 6 spent about an hour
       less per day working than employed women living in households with
       older or with no children.  Among employed men, the time spent work-
       ing did not vary by age of youngest child.  (See table 8.)

Household Activities

--On an average day in 2004, 84 percent of women and 63 percent of men
       spent some time doing household activities, such as housework, cook-
       ing, lawn care, or financial and other household management.  (See
       table 1.)

--Women who reported doing household activities on the diary day spent
       2.7 hours on such activities while men spent 2.1 hours.  (See table 1.)

--Nineteen percent of men reported doing housework--such as cleaning or
       doing laundry--compared with 54 percent of women.  Thirty-five percent
       of men did food preparation or cleanup versus 66 percent of women.
       (See table 1.)

--For men and women, and overall, the amount of time spent doing
       household activities did not vary greatly by the presence or age of
       household children.  (See table 8.)

- 3 -

Care of Household Children (by Adults in Households with Children)

--In households with the youngest child under age 6, time spent provid-
       ing primary childcare averaged 2.7 hours for women and 1.2 hours for
       men.  Physical care, playing with children, and travel related to
       childcare accounted for most of the time spent in primary childcare
       activities.  (See table 9.)

--For adults living with children under age 6, women provided an average
       of 1.2 hours of physical care--such as bathing, dressing, or feeding a
       child--per day to household children, while men provided about one-
       third of this amount--0.4 hour (about 24 minutes).  (See table 9.)

--Adults living in households where the youngest child was under the age
       of 6 spent nearly three times as much time (1.8 hours) per day caring
       for and helping household children compared with adults living in house-
       holds where the youngest child was between the ages of 6 and 17.  This
       difference was somewhat greater for women than men.  (See table 8.)

--Among adults living with children under age 6, those who were not
       employed spent about 1 hour more per day caring for and helping
       household children than employed adults, 2.6 versus 1.6 hours.
       (See table 8.)

--Adults living in households with a child under age 6 spent 4.0 hours
       per day doing leisure and sports activities.  About half of this time
       also was spent providing childcare as a secondary activity.  That is,
       they had at least one child under age 13 in their care while doing
       leisure and sports activities.  (See tables 8 and 10.)

Leisure Activities

--On an average day in 2004, nearly everyone (96 percent) age 15 and over
       reported some sort of leisure or sports activity, such as watching TV,
       socializing, or exercising.  Including the small proportion of the pop-
       ulation that reported no leisure activities, men spent more time do-
       ing leisure activities (5.6 hours) than women (4.8 hours).  (See
       table 1.)

--Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time, ac-
       counting for about half of leisure time on average for both men and
       women.  Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or
       hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, ac-
       counting for about three-quarters of an hour per day for both sexes.
       (See table 1.)

--Men were more likely than women to participate in sports on any given
       day, 20 versus 15 percent.  Men also spent more time in sports activ-
       ities on the days they participated, 2.0 versus 1.3 hours.  (See
       table 1.)

--On average, individuals spent 33 percent more time (1.6 additional
       hours) in leisure and sports activities on weekend days than weekdays.
       The biggest proportional gain was in socializing time:  Individuals
       spent 92 percent more time socializing and communicating on weekend
       days than on weekdays.  In absolute terms, TV watching and socializ-
       ing and communicating each were about one-half hour per day greater
       on the weekends than on weekdays.  (See table 11.)

--Employed adults living in households without children (under age 18)
       engaged in leisure and sports activities for 4.5 hours, about 49 more
       minutes per day than employed adults living with a child under age 6.
       Half of their additional leisure time was spent watching TV.  (See
       table 8.)

--Among individuals age 25 and older, those with less than a high school
       diploma spent 1.8 more hours per day engaged in leisure and sports activ-
       ities than those who had earned a bachelor's degree or higher.  (See
       table 11.)

--Married women spent 4.5 hours per day participating in leisure and sports
       activities.  On average, this amounted to less leisure time than married
       men (0.6 hour less), unmarried women (0.8 hour), and unmarried men
       (1.7 hours).  (See table 11.)

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