A Day In The Life Of The Average American

via Business Insider: 


Most Americans lead a pretty easy life, according to the Bureau of Labor Services’ Time Use Survey, released earlier this summer. 

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

Well done, America! For all we’ve written about the importance of sleep, it turns out most Americans are getting more than enough zzzs. 

Women get 11 minutes more sleep than men.

Source: BLS

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.

Source: BLS

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.

Source: BLS

1 hour and 38 minutes of household activities

Women outwork men at home, spending an extra 47 minutes per day on household activities. 

Housework and food prep take up the most time, followed by lawn care, gardening, and household management.

The older you are the more time you spend on household activities.

Source: BLS

1 hour and 11 minutes of eating and drinking

Men spend an extra 4 minutes on eating and drinking compared to women. 

More educated people also spend more time dining.

Source: BLS

47 minutes dressing and grooming

Women take an extra 17 minutes getting ready on weekdays. Not as much as you might think. 

Source: BLS

41 minutes purchasing goods and services

Women spend an extra 12 minutes buying things every day. They were also more likely to buy things, with 47 percent taking part on the day surveyed compared to 38 percent of men. 

Source: BLS

36 minutes of educational activities

92 percent of people don’t engage in educational activity at all on the weekday surveyed. 

But the 8 percent who did (probably students) spent a lot of time on it, averaging 5 hours and 39 minutes.

Source: BLS

32 minutes caring for household members (primarily children)

Time spent caring for household members varies greatly depending on whom you ask. 29 percent of women engaged in this activity on the typical day compared to 20 percent of men. 

For people engaged in this activity, the average time rose to 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Source: BLS

15 minutes of organizational, civic, and religious activities

Not very high, right? 

For the 9 percent of Americans engaged in religious activity on the average day, however, time spent rose to 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Source: BLS

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.

Source: BLS



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