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America's Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014

Time Use

Time use data enable comparisons of how much time young men and women spend in educational activities, working, leisure and sports activities, or doing household activities. How people spend their time reflects their personal and family situations, interests, financial resources, whether they are employed or enrolled in school, and other factors.

Indicator Beh2.A: Average hours per day young adults ages 18–24 spent in various activities by gender, 2012
Average hours per day young adults ages 18–24 spent in various activities by gender, 2012

NOTE: All activities include related travel. "Other activities" includes activities such as organizational, civic, and religious activities; shopping; and telephone calls. Averages were calculated using data for all 7 days of the week and all months of the year. These data refer to the civilian non-institutionalized population.

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey.

Indicator Beh2.B: Average hours young adults ages 18–24 spent in leisure activities and sports on an average day by gender, 2012
Average hours young adults ages 18–24 spent in leisure activities and sports on an average day by gender, 2012

NOTE: "Other leisure" includes travel related to leisure as well as activities such as hobbies, listening to music, arts and entertainment, and attending sporting and recreational events. Averages were calculated using data for all 7 days of the week. These data refer to the civilian non-institutionalized population.

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey.

  • In 2012, on an average day, males ages 18–24 spent 6.6 hours participating in leisure activities and sports, about 2 hours more than did females (4.6 hours).
  • On an average day in 2012, males and females spent about the same amount of time doing work and work-related activities (3.2 hours for males and 3.3 hours for females). These averages include data for all 7 days of the week and all individuals in each group, including those who were employed and those who were not employed.
  • On an average day in 2012, young adult males and females spent similar amounts of time participating in educational activities (1.2 hours for males and 1.3 hours for females).
  • Watching TV was the leisure activity that young adult males and females spent the most time doing. On an average day in 2012, males spent more time watching TV than did females (2.6 vs. 2.2 hours).
  • Volunteer activities are the specific tasks done by a volunteer for an organization, such as tutoring, fundraising, or serving food. In 2012, 19 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds volunteered, and young adult females volunteered at a higher rate than did males (22 vs. 16 percent).37

table icon YABEH2 HTML Table

37 From the Current Population Survey's Volunteer Supplement. For more information, see http://www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.toc.htm.