How Do Americans Spend Their Time?

See how much time Americans work, relax or engage in other activities in an interactive chart with Labor Department data released Friday.
by | June 22, 2012
 

The typical American spends 28 minutes per day on educational activities, 74 minutes eating or drinking and another 41 minutes grooming themselves.

That’s according to data released today as part of the American Time Use Survey, an annual assessment by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics measuring how people spend their days.

The 2011 estimates cover a range of activities – everything from hours spent looking for a job to yardwork.

Numbers from recent years indicate a gradual decline in non-work related communication, with average time spent on phone, e-mail and other messages down 24 percent from 2008. Among the other findings:

  • Those who worked spent an average of 7.99 hours per day doing so, up from 7.82 hours in 2010.
  • 42 percent of U.S. eldercare providers cared for a parent.
  • Those age 15 and over spent an average of 2.8 hours watching television.
  • Self-employed workers were three times more likely than wage and salary employees to have performed some work at home on days they worked.

Additional national data for select population groups is available on the survey website. The agency said the survey was designed to be representative of the entire U.S. population, so yearly estimates for each state are not published.

Governing compiled current and historical data for the age 15 and over population into the chart below. Select a time category to view further details:

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