Out of time

There was a news item today about the American Time Use Survey, and how the Bush Administration has no time — or rather, money — for it any more. This is an annual study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that breaks down how Americans spend every bit of their time, and is considered useful for observing the effects of economic policies on ordinary people.

The 2006 survey (the most recent for which data are available) found that on an “average day,” people over the age of 15 slept about 8.6 hours, spent 5.1 hours doing leisure and sports activities, worked for 3.8 hours, and spent 1.8 hours doing household activities. The remaining 4.7 hours were spent doing a variety of other activities, including eating and drinking, attending school, and shopping… People over 75 years old averaged 1.4 hours of reading per weekend day and 12 minutes playing games or using a computer for leisure. Conversely, individuals ages 15 to 19 read for an average of seven minutes per weekend day and spent one hour playing games or using a computer.

Frankly I’m now feeling rather deprived. I would love to sleep 8.6 hours a day! (Don’t these people have jobs?!)

3 thoughts on “Out of time

  1. Mrs. Mecomber

    The teenagers reading/playing games was most striking to me of the study from which you quoted. That is terrible! What about school?? Does that seven minutes of reading include school work?

    I guess we must be a very non-average family. My own children read about six hours a day (or more) and the boys play computer games, for a half-hour each, about four/five times per week.

  2. JS

    am i the only one that finds the government reporting about how we spend our time to be intrusive, economically wasteful and paternalistic?

    it is amazing, how incrementally, we give away our freedom. it wasn’t so long ago that we rebelled over a stamp tax. :)

  3. Ellen

    I don’t know, I thought the survey sounds like a good idea, as long as you have someone in the government who knows what to do with it… which I SERIOUSLY doubt.

    Every four years I am amazed at how self-importantly politicians run around campaigning, acting as if the U.S. government actually knew anything about anything… when the average citizen is probably in the dark about what sort of financial pain even their next door neighbor is going through.

    Mrs M I think the seven minutes of reading had to do with a weekend day, so maybe kids refuse to do that stuff on the weekend…

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