You might think that Americans spend most of their free time watching TV or playing sports like basketball, baseball or football – not to be confused with soccer! That’s when they’re not at some burger or taco joint, of course. Women probably spend most of their time shopping. And, of course, everybody works way more hours than anybody else in any other country. But, leaving all the film and TV stereotypes aside, is there any truth in these assumptions?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its yearly report on their citizens’ daily activities, which describes how Americans of both genders and different age ranges spend their time. The interesting thing about their latest report is that it includes an interactive chart that shows live how many people are doing a particular activity at any time of day or night, based on all the data they put together in their macro-survey.
How many people do you think are eating right now? And practising sports or working out? What do you think is the activity Americans spend more time on?
One remarkable fact is the considerable number of hours people across all age groups spend watching TV, especially if you compare it to other free-time activities such as socializing or general leisure (for instance reading, watching films, going to concerts or attending cultural or sports events). Unfortunately this study did not count the number of hours people devote to social networks and general Internet browsing. What do you think the results would be?
One curious outcome of the study is that, contrary to most people’s opinion these days, we seem to be getting more sleep now. However, we have the feeling that we live in an increasingly busier world and that we have less and less time for everything, so that prioritizing becomes a very difficult task. We don’t seem to be getting enough time to even choose what we want to do with our time! As Bill Watterson (the cartoonist who created Calvin and Hobbes) once said: “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” Don’t count every hour of the day, make every hour in the day count!
How do Americans your age spend their time? Is it any different from what you expected? And from how you spend your own time?
- Watch telly (v): informal for watching television
- Joint (n): a slang word for business
- Assumption (n): supposition, theory
- Across (prep): from one side to the other. When it introduces phrases such as “across all age groups” it means that it transcends all the group barriers, affecting every group.