US Government Probes How Consumers Spend Their Time

04 May 2005

Time and how US consumers use it is the subject of a new government survey. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics' findings, based on 2003 data, hold no jaw-dropping surprises.

Americans watch a lot of television, women do more housework than men, teenagers don't read much and everyone likes to sleep.

The survey, which questioned 21,000 people aged 15+, found ...

  • Americans spend 11% of their life in front of a TV, which should bring some comfort to those fretting over the future of television advertising.

  • The more educated the viewer the less time is devoted to televison, with college graduate workers spending just 1.4 hours in front of it.

  • Teenagers spend just seven minutes a day reading paper-based materials.

  • At the other end of the age scale, 75-year-olds read for 72 minutes a day.

  • Americans on average spend 24 minutes a day shopping, increasing to 42 minutes on a Saturday.

  • Women have less leisure time than men. They spend an hour a day on housework, while men spend just 15 minutes.

  • Women with young children have the least leisure time of all, little more than three hours daily.

  • Nearly one in five people work from home, either partly or fully. Those people with more education are more likely to work at home.

  • Americans sleep an average 8.6 hours out of every 24, and longer on Sundays.

    Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff