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American Time Use Survey

WB Notice

There was an error in the activity selection process for the Well-Being (WB) Module to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). Due to a programming error in the data collection software, certain activities were less likely than others to be selected for follow-up questions in the WB Module. This error in the activity selection process was fixed on March 25, 2013. Well-being data collected prior to March 25, 2013 were affected by this error.

By design, three eligible activities from the ATUS time diary were supposed to be selected at random for follow-up questions in the WB Module. Most diary activities were eligible for the WB module questions; however, sleeping, grooming, and a few other activities were not eligible.

In 2010 and 2012, and part of 2013, the last eligible activity in each respondent’s time diary was incorrectly excluded from the random selection process in most cases. As a result, eligible activities that occur at or near the end of the diary are underrepresented in the 2010 and 2012 WB Module data. For example, the last eligible diary activity often is a long spell of TV watching; because of the selection error, TV watching is underrepresented in the WB Module data and the average duration of activities selected for the module is shorter than the average duration of all eligible diary activities.

BLS and the U.S. Census Bureau researched the best way to mitigate this error, which involved a change to the WB Module activity weights. The adjusted WB Module activity weights do not affect the 2010, 2012, or 2013 ATUS final weights.

For more information, please see Appendix C in the WB Module data dictionary.


Last Modified Date: July 31, 2014