Time use patterns over a decade

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

In this post, we will explore the data from the American Time Use Survey and attempt to put the numbers in perspective — using data for the years of 2003-2014 will show us changes in daily activities in the last decade.

A day starts with a night of good sleep and a shower — these activities are summarized in the personal care category. We can see that the amount of time spent on these activities has been steadily growing since 2007, and is now 14 minutes higher than 10 years ago: 9.5 hours on average. We also see that women spend about 40 minutes more on these activities daily.

Next comes breakfast. The amount of time that people spend eating and drinking showed a decline in the past three years but is only slightly lower than 10 years back. On average, people spend an hour and five minutes at the table per day. Men tend to need more time for their meals than women.

Time spent working decreased for men by 16 minutes, while it increased for women by three minutes. Combined with the amount of time spent sleeping, this contradicts a common belief that modern times require more work and less sleep.

Women spent less time on housework, while men spent more. This may be attributed to an increasing number of stay-at-home dads. The average time spent on this activity actually decreased by four minutes.

Time spent on exercise and sports activities didn't change much, as the population averaged 20 minutes per day. Men exercised for 25 minutes, while women spent only 15 minutes.

And finally, we arrive at relaxation and leisure time. These activities show growth in the past years: people spend 13 minutes more on average. As far as the sports category goes, we see that men spend more time on leisure than women.

Another interesting category is consumer purchases — we see that time spent shopping is steadily decreasing, which is most likely a result of the growth of internet shopping.

The above chart summarizes people’s time use for the year 2014, and also allows you to compare men’s and women’s time spent on all activity types at the same time.

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About Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

Alexander is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. He currently holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Applied Math. He has experience working for industry major companies performing research in the fields of machine learning, data mining and natural language processing. In his free time, Alexander enjoys hiking, Nordic skiing and traveling.

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