The average day in 2004

September 22, 2005

On an "average day" in the U.S. in 2004, persons age 15 and older slept about 8.6 hours, spent 5.2 hours doing leisure and sports activities, worked for 3.7 hours, and spent 1.8 hours doing household activities.

Average hours per day spent in primary activities, total population, 2004
[Chart data—TXT]

The remaining 4.7 hours were spent in a variety of other activities, including eating and drinking, attending school, and shopping.

The American Time Use Survey collects data about daily activities from all segments of the population age 15 and over, including persons who are employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force (such as students or retirees). Data are collected for both weekdays and weekends. Thus, "average day" measures developed for the entire population reflect the average distribution of time across all persons and days.

On an average weekday, in comparison, persons employed full time spent 9.2 hours working, 7.5 hours sleeping, 3.0 hours doing leisure and sports activities, and 0.9 hour doing household activities. The remaining 3.4 hours were spent in other activities, such as those described above.

The American Time Use Survey is the source of these data on time use. You can find out more about how various segments of population spent their time in American Time Use Survey — 2004 (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 05-1766. These data are for persons 15 years old and over.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, The average day in 2004 on the Internet at (visited September 29, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.