How do you spend your time?

Time is one of our most valued resources. Below is an analysis on how Americans spend their time. The data was collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) American Time Use Survey.

I wanted to see what Americans typically spend most of their time doing. The plot below shows the top 20 activities recognized by BLS and the amount of time (in hours) an average American spends doing these activities daily. Top 3 activities (sleeping, leisure, and working) consume over 70% of our average day, at least we’re spending some of that time relaxing 🙂





Of course the “average” American isn’t a fair representation of our population. Below the breakout of how much time each day we spend on activities (a little higher level) with respect to age.
It’s quite interesting to see how our time shifts from personal care and leisure to work as we get to our peak working years, which this visualization identifies as ages 25-54. This is pretty intuitive, as anyone who works experiences this first hand, but it’s cool to see the data capture this. Another thing I found interesting, was after the age of 24, time Americans’ spend on education drops off very fast.




The next segment I took a look at was the hours worked on by industry and how this changed over time. The plot below shows the number of hours worked on weekdays by each industry identified by the BLS (except for Farming, forestry, and fishing — this data was incomplete for the entire time series). It’s very interesting to see that people who work in the maintenance & repair, production, transportation, and construction industries put in more hours than the other industries and also have the highest increase in total hours worked over time.




The last segment I looked at was hours worked by earnings. The chart below depicts the hours worked by how much Americans earn (in dollars). The Americans who earned greater than $54,000 (noted by the red line and represent top 25% or the 75th percentile), worked less in 2014 than Americans who earned between $29,000 and $54,000 (noted by the green line and represent the 25th and 75th percentile respectively). Even though this might be intuitive, it’s neat that it’s reflected in the data.




Source data link:

Percentile data: