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How Australians Use Their Time

How Australians Use Their Time, Australian Bureau of Statistics, October 2o22

Key findings on how people use their time in Australia.

Reference period: 2020-21 financial year
Released: 7/10/2022
Next release Unknown
Previous releases

Key statistics

  • Females who participated in unpaid work activities spent on average 4 hours 31 minutes a day, while males spent 3 hours 12 minutes.
  • Of those who participated in employment related activities, males spent an hour more a day than females (8 hours 13 minutes compared to 7 hours 12 minutes).
  • Female parents who participated in child care, spent 3 hours 34 minutes while male parents spent 2 hours 19 minutes.

The Time Use Survey (TUS), conducted from November 2020 through to July 2021, measured the daily activities of people aged 15 years and over in Australia to provide insights into how people spent their time.

Participants completed a diary of their activities over two days. Participants were asked to report their main activity, referred to as primary activity and, one other activity done at the same time, referred to as secondary activity. The activity information was then coded to the Activity Classification.

The results represent, on average, how people spent their time in a day.  The data discussed below reflects the primary activity.

The 2020-21 TUS was collected during the COVID-19 pandemic and has undergone multiple changes. Data should be used for point-in-time analysis only and should not be compared to previous years. See Methodology for more information.

For more information about the survey design including weighting, relative standard error and margin of error refer to the Methodology.

COVID-19 context

The Time Use Survey (TUS) 2020-2021 was collected between November 2020 and July 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, initiatives were in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 including border control measures for some states and territories, stay at home orders, remote learning, shutting down non-essential services, limits on gatherings and social distancing rules.

Four types of time

The activities on which people aged 15 years and over spent their time can be divided into four types of time use.

Necessary activities – An average of 10 hours 35 minutes a day was spent on activities such as sleeping, eating, personal care, health and hygiene.

Contracted activities – An average of 3 hours 40 minutes a day was spent on activities such as paid work and education.

Committed activities – An average of 3 hours 30 minutes a day was spent on unpaid domestic work, child care, adult care and voluntary work.

Free time activities – An average of 5 hours 13 minutes a day was spent on free time activities such as social interactions, going out and watching TV.

On average, males spent more time on contracted and free time, while females spent longer on committed time:

  • Males spent 4 hours 18 minutes on contracted time compared to females who spent 3 hours 4 minutes
  • Males spent 5 hours 28 minutes on free time compared to 5 hours for females
  • Females spent 4 hours 13 minutes on committed time compared to 2 hours 44 minutes for males.

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