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Time spent alone increased by an hour per day in 2020

August 27, 2021

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, people were encouraged to stay at home and practice social distancing. During their waking hours, people age 15 and older spent an average of about 1 hour more per day alone in 2020 (7.0 hours) than they did 2019 (6.1 hours).

Average waking hours per day people spent alone by household composition, May to December, 2019 and 2020
Household composition 2019 2020

Total, age 15 and older

6.06 7.01

Lives alone

9.72 11.31

Lives with spouse or partner, no children present

5.56 6.37

Adult living with children under age 18

4.67 5.30

People living by themselves spent an average of 11.3 hours per day alone in 2020 and 9.7 hours alone in 2019. By comparison, adults living with a child under age 18 averaged less than half as many of their waking hours alone—5.3 hours per day in 2020 and 4.7 hours in 2019.

People age 15 and older spent more of their waking hours with members of their households in 2020 (4.8 hours per day) than they did in 2019 (4.5 hours). They spent fewer waking hours with nonhousehold members—2.9 hours per day in 2020, compared with 4.4 hours in 2019.

Average waking hours per day people spent with others by household composition, May to December, 2019 and 2020
Household composition 2019 2020

Total, age 15 and older

With household members

4.51 4.75

With nonhousehold members

4.43 2.89

Lives alone

With nonhousehold members

4.62 2.86

Lives with spouse or partner, no children present

With spouse

5.16 5.35

With nonhousehold members

4.01 2.45

Adult living with children under age 18

With spouse

3.07 3.32

With children

4.36 4.63

With nonhousehold members

4.57 3.08

These data are from the American Time Use Survey. For more information, see “American Time Use Survey — May to December 2019 and 2020 Results.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Time spent alone increased by an hour per day in 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/time-spent-alone-increased-by-an-hour-per-day-in-2020.htm (visited October 20, 2021).

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