This chart shows how Americans spend every single minute in the average day

By Christopher Ingraham


This is your life, America: hour by hour, minute by minute. The latest American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor statistics tracks, in exhaustive detail, where the sands in your hourglass go. In the chart below, I’ve plotted the average American weekday and weekend day according to these numbers.

“Average” is the crucial word here. Nobody actually works 4.5 hours every weekday and 1.3 hours every weekend day, for instance. But when you ask 11,000 citizens age 15 and up what they did in a given day, as the BLS did, and average out all of their responses, this is what you end up with.

Let’s start with sleep. You may be shocked to find that the average American gets 8 hours and 32 minutes of sleep on a typical workday. Wait, what? If you’re like a lot of people, the 8-hour sleep schedule sounds like a far-off dreamy ideal. But bear in mind that these numbers include responses from seniors and teens, people who typically get a lot more sleep than the rest of us. And as a BLS economist explained to me last year, these figures also include naps during the day, as well as as a number of “non-sleep activities” — reading, tossing and turning, some *ahem* other things — that typically happen in bed. And on weekends, we sleep nearly an hour longer on average.

We spend a little more than 3 hours on household chores and activities on weekdays and weekends. These numbers include making food, cleaning up, taking care of others, and basic personal grooming.

The biggest difference between weekdays and weekends shows up in work time — 4 hours and 32 minutes of it during the week, 1 hour and 23 minutes on …read more