Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Economic News Release
ATUS ATUS Program Links

American Time Use Survey Summary

Technical information:  (202) 691-6339     USDL 09-0704
                                           For release:  10:00 A.M. (EDT)
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902     Wednesday, June 24, 2009


   The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor
today released 2008 results from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS).
This annual release of ATUS data focuses on the average amount of time
per day in 2008 that individuals worked, did household activities, cared
for household children, participated in educational activities, and en-
gaged in leisure and sports activities.  It also includes measures of
the average time per day spent providing childcare--both as a primary
(or main) activity and while doing other things--for the combined years
2004-08.  Except for childcare, activities done simultaneously with pri-
mary activities were not collected.  For a further description of ATUS
data and methodology, see the Technical Note. //ATUS July Maintenance Testing 7/17/19//

Working (by Employed Persons) in 2008

   --Employed persons worked an average of 7.6 hours on the days that they
     worked.  They worked longer on weekdays than on weekend days--7.9 ver-
     sus 5.6 hours.  (See table 4.)

   --On the days that they worked, employed men worked about 0.9 hour (52
     minutes) more than employed women.  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--8.3 versus 7.7 hours.  (See table 4.)

   --Many more people worked on weekdays than on weekend days; that is,
     they spent some time doing tasks required for a job, regardless of
     whether it was part of their usual work schedule or arrangement.
     Eighty-three percent of employed persons worked on an average weekday
     compared with 34 percent on an average weekend day.  (See table 4.)

   --On the days that they worked, 21 percent of employed persons did some
     or all of their work at home, and 86 percent did some or all of their
     work at their workplace.  Men and women were about equally likely to
     do some or all of their work at home.  (See table 6.)

   --Multiple jobholders were almost twice as likely to work on an average
     weekend day as were single jobholders--59 versus 31  percent.  Multiple
     jobholders also were much more likely to work at home than were single
     jobholders--36 versus 19 percent.  (See tables 4 and 6.)

   --Self-employed workers were more likely than wage and salary workers to
     have done some work at home--55 versus 17 percent.  (See table 7.)

   --On the days that they worked, 35 percent of employed people age 25 and
     over with a bachelor's degree or higher did some work at home compared
     with only 9 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.
     (See table 6.)

                                   - 2 -

Household Activities in 2008

   --On an average day, 83 percent of women and 64 percent of men spent some
     time doing household activities, such as housework, cooking, lawn care, 
     or financial and other household management.  (For a definition of aver-
     age day, see the Technical Note.)  (See table 1.)

   --On the days that they did household activities, women spent an average of
     2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.0 hours.  (See table 1.)

   --On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework--such as cleaning or
     doing laundry--compared with 50 percent of women.  Thirty-eight percent
     of men did food preparation or cleanup compared with 65 percent of women.
     (See table 1.)

Educational Activities in 2008

   --About 10 percent of the population engaged in educational activities, such
     as attending class or doing homework, on an  average weekday.  Those who
     attended class on a weekday spent an average of 5.3 hours doing so, and
     those who did homework and research on a weekday spent 2.7 hours in such
     activities.  (See table 2.)

Leisure Activities in 2008

   --On an average day, nearly everyone age 15 and over (96 percent) 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 (5.7 hours) than did women (5.1 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, exercise, or
     recreation on any given day--21 versus 15 percent.  On the days that
     they participated, men also spent more time in these activities than
     did women, 1.9 versus 1.3 hours.  (See table 1.)

   --On an average day, adults age 75 and over spent 7.6 hours engaged in
     leisure activities--more than any other age group; 25- to 44-year-olds
     spent just over 4 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities--less
     than other age groups.  (See table 11.)

   --Time spent reading for personal interest and playing games or using a
     computer for leisure varied greatly by age.  Individuals age 75 and
     over averaged 1.2 hours of reading per weekend day and 0.3 hour (17
     minutes) playing games or using a computer for leisure.  Conversely,
     individuals ages 15 to 19 read for an average of 0.2 hour (10 minutes)
     per weekend day while spending 1.0 hour playing games or using a com-
     puter for leisure.  (See table 11.)

   --Employed adults living in households with no children under 18 engaged
     in leisure activities for 4.5 hours per day, nearly an hour more than
     employed adults living with a child under age 6.  (See table 8.)

                                   - 3 -

Care of Household Children (by Adults in Households with Children) for
the period 2004-08

   --Adults living in households with children under 6 spent an average of
     2.0 hours per day providing primary childcare to household children.
     Adults living in households where the youngest child was between the
     ages of 6 and 17 spent less than half as much time providing primary
     childcare to household children--0.8 hour (47 minutes) per day.  Pri-
     mary childcare is childcare that is done as a main activity, such as
     physical care of children and reading to or talking with children.
     (See table 9.)

   --On an average weekday, among adults living in households with children
     under 6, women spent 1.2 hours providing physical care (such as bathing
     or feeding a child) to household children; by contrast, men spent 0.4
     hour (25 minutes) providing physical care.  On an average weekend day,
     women provided an hour of physical care to household children, while men
     provided half an hour.  (See table 9.)

   --Adults living in households with children under 13, with at least one
     child under 6, spent an average of 5.6 hours per day providing secondary
     childcare--that is, they had at least one child in their care while doing
     activities other than primary childcare.  Secondary childcare provided by
     adults living in households with children under 6 was most commonly pro-
     vided while doing leisure activities (2.2 hours) or household activities
     (1.3 hours).  (See table 10.)

   --Adults living in households with children under 6 spent more time pro-
     viding primary childcare on an average weekday (2.1 hours) than on an
     average weekend day (1.7 hours).  However, they spent less time providing
     secondary childcare on weekdays than on weekend days--4.7 versus 7.6 hours.
     (See tables 9 and 10.)

Microdata Release

   Today, BLS also released ten 2008 ATUS microdata files for users who wish to do
their own tabulations and analyses.  In accordance with BLS and Census Bureau poli-
cies that protect survey respondents' privacy, identifying information was removed
from the microdata files and some responses have been edited. The 2008 microdata
files are available on the BLS Web site at

The PDF version of the news release

News release charts

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: August 03, 2021