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American Time Use Survey: Design

The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) sample is a stratified three-stage sample drawn from the population of households that participated in the eighth interview of the Current Population Survey (CPS). In the first stage of selection, the CPS oversample in the less populous states is reduced. Unlike the CPS, the ATUS does not have a state reliability requirement. To improve the efficiency of the national estimates derived from the survey, the ATUS sample is chosen from the population of households that responded to the CPS. In that way, the sample is distributed across states so that it is representative of the proportion of the national population that each state represents. The second stage of selection stratifies households according to race and ethnicity, the presence and age of children in the household, and the number of adults in adults-only households. Sampling rates vary within each stratum. Eligible households with a Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black householder are oversampled to improve the reliability of time-use data for these demographic groups. To ensure adequate measures of childcare, households with children are also oversampled; equivalently, households without children are undersampled. In the third stage of selection, an eligible person from each household selected in the second stage is randomly selected to be the designated person for the ATUS. Civilian household members at least 15 years of age are eligible. All eligible persons within a sample household have the same probability of being selected the designated person.

The monthly sample is divided into four randomly selected panels, one for each week of the month. To ensure good measures of time use on weekdays and weekend days, the sample is also split evenly between weekdays and weekend days. Ten percent of the sample is allocated to report about each weekday, and 25 percent of the sample is allocated to report about each weekend day. Designated persons from each household are randomly assigned a day of the week about which to report.

For more information on the ATUS survey design, see chapter 3 of the User’s Guide.

Last Modified Date: October 17, 2019