Special Report

What Americans Do When Not at Work

After work and sleep, most Americans have eight hours left of their day to spend as they please. How much time Americans spend watching TV, getting exercise, cleaning and playing sports depends on whether they are men or women, 15 or 64, married or single. While the economy and technology have changed dramatically in the past decade, how Americans spend their time on average has remained largely unchanged.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released its 2012 American Time Use Survey. The survey measures the average amount of time Americans spend on different activities in a given day. Personal care, which is mostly taken up by sleep, accounts for the most amount of time each day, followed by leisure activities, including watching TV and playing sports, and work.

Click here to see what Americans do when they are not at work

Men allocate their time differently than women. On an average day, men spent one hour and 17 minutes on household activities, which include housework, food preparation and lawn care. Meanwhile, women spent two hours and 10 minutes on those activities. Men also spent 36 minutes on a given day purchasing goods or services, while women spent about 50 minutes. Women spent just over 14 minutes a day on recreation, sports and exercise, compared to 24.6 minutes for men. In most of these cases, the difference was primarily because one sex participated more in a given activity.

Time was allocated differently based on age as well. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of the time devoted to educational activities was by Americans between the ages of 15 and 24. People over the age of 75 spent more than an hour and a half eating and drinking, while people between the ages of 15 and 24 spent just an hour on that activity. While Americans over the age of 75 spent two hours and 25 minutes on household activities, people between 15 and 19 spent just 40 minutes on them.

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual American Time Use Survey, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the ways the average person 15 and older spends an average day each week. Weekends are factored into the calculation as well. We also reviewed numbers from the survey by gender, age and those who reported engaging in the activity in a given day.

This is how Americans spend their time when not at work.

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