Monday, 3 August 2009

How Different Groups Spend Their Day - Time Use Survey

The New York Times has published a graphic on how americans spend their time during the day. The data was collected in a large survey by the American Bureau of Labor Statistics. Participants were asked to recall every minute, as the Times putts it of their day.
The interactive graphic allows detailed access to time and activity and some control over the group. Different groups spend their day obviously different. There are differences between different races and ages, but the major difference is between the working population and the non working population, e.g. unemployed. This is the main interest for the US in this statistic because of the high number of unemployed people. It is at 1 in 10, a level not seen in 27 years.

Image from nytimes - left employed, right unemployed. Yellow represents time at work, dark brown TV and movies, the olive is household activities. Click on the image for the real flash based version.

The graph is not as sharp as maybe expected. There seems to be quite a large time frame for change of activity. Nevertheless the structure is quite clear, with large number having a very similar daily rhythm.
The American Bureau of Labor Statistics has a really detailed archive of time use data. It is all accessible through their webpage. The data is ready to download in different formats. They cover the time periods from 2003 on a yearly cycle. Beside the raw data also some processed data is available, including graphs.

you can compare to the UrbanDiary graphs from earlier this year here. It does show similar pattens, but is based on GPS records and therefor accounts only for movements.

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