In less than three minutes, this video displays how we allocate the time in our lives. It starts with the 28,835 jelly beans that represent each day of a 79 year life and suggests we set aside 8,477 jelly beans for our sleep time:
Once a year, we get to see how we divide our time through the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). In the 2016 ATUS report, we found out that average employed Americans did 3.2 hours of their work at home but still were in the workplace for 8 hours.
Rather than the workplace, our goal today is to see what we do at home.
Covering 2003 to 2015, the following infographics proportionally illustrate a 24-hour day. With the height of the bars representing time, we can estimate how long we devote to our daily activities.
For example, employed individuals work and commute for more than one-third of their waking weekday hours. If you combine that with sleeping, they have much less time for leisure than those who are unemployed:
Looking at 2003 to 2015, women remain responsible for more in the home. (Sadly) during the past 12 years, the time men devoted to food preparation and clean-up increased by just 5 minutes from 16 minutes in 2003 to 21 minutes in 2015.
For leisure time activities, people 65 and older watch much more TV than 15 to 44 year olds. Compared with 2006, all of us are reading and thinking (how do they know??) less:
Our Bottom Line: Household Production
Although ignored by the GDP, what we do at home has long been recognized as production. Nobel Laureate Gary Becker pointed out that the home can be compared to a factory where time and market inputs are combined in order to produce commodities like educated children and meals.
But still in our economic texts, we have shortchanged the household while devoting tomes to businesses. However, in our circular flow illustrations of our market economy, the Household occupies a primary position:
And that is why we we need ATUS. With ever more attention to work life balance and what we do as a household, we can use the data from ATUS to quantify and compare household production.
My sources and more: For all of the time use data you could want, and more, I recommend the BLS ATUS tables and also their summary. But if you prefer a media overview, this WSJ article and this look at leisure are ideal.