The survey shows that the average American (over the age of 15) works around four and a half hours per weekday, while getting over eight hours of sleep and enjoying nearly five hours of leisure.
While it’s problematic to compare people who have jobs to those who don’t, we think the data gives a useful insight into the national average. Most people are getting by without working full-time jobs. This is a benefit of living in a first-world welfare state.
Americans have it easier than people in rural China where the average person works nearly seven hours per weekday. It’s also an easier life than people had before the modern era. On the other hand Americans do work longer hours than Europeans.
8 hours and 27 minutes of sleep
4 hours and 44 minutes of leisure and sports
See, life isn’t so hard. Leisure and sports take up more time than work on the average American’s weekday.
Women get an extra 40 minutes of leisure per day.
Less admirable is how we spend that leisure time. Americans watch 2 hours and 34 minutes of TV on weekdays, while exercising for only 17 minutes.
4 hours and 29 minutes of work and related activities
If this stat seems low, remember that the survey includes all Americans over the age of 15 including many who are not in the workforce.
Only 54 percent of those surveyed engaged in work on that day. Of those engaged in the activity, the average time spent rose to 7 hours and 57 minutes.
Men spend an extra 1 hour and 17 minutes on work compared to women.
1 hour and 38 minutes of household activities
1 hour and 11 minutes of eating and drinking
47 minutes dressing and grooming
41 minutes purchasing goods and services
36 minutes of educational activities
32 minutes caring for household members (primarily children)
15 minutes of organizational, civic, and religious activities
Now let’s survey time spent on the weekends
People don’t work nearly as much on the weekend. With more free time, Americans do what they want to do, not what they have to do.
On the weekend:
- People get nearly an hour more sleep
- People get an extra 1 hour and 37 minutes of leisure
- People spend an extra 29 minutes on household activities
- People spend an extra 54 minutes eating and drinking. We blame brunch.
- People take slightly less time getting ready
- People spend an extra 7 minutes buying things
- Students spend only half the amount of time doing homework compared to the weekdays (6 hours and 10 minutes versus 3 hours and 27 minutes).
- Religious activity rises from a meager 4 minutes during the week to 21 minutes on the weekend.