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For the Unemployed, the Day Stacks Up Differently
August 4, 2009 7:18 AM   Subscribe

How are Americans spending their time? An informational graphic from The New York Times.
posted by splatta (74 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
On the Internet, of course.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:20 AM on August 4, 2009


Apparently, not enough people are in the category "watching NYT interactive graphs" to show up in the graph...
posted by DreamerFi at 7:21 AM on August 4, 2009


Lesson #1: White people don't like socializing.
Lesson #2: Leisure time & TV/Movie time becomes "Family Time" when you have children.
Lesson #3: A significant portion of 15-25 year olds are sleeping half of every day.
posted by tybeet at 7:27 AM on August 4, 2009


Is wanking "other leisure", "sports", "religious activity", "computer use" or "personal care"?
posted by srboisvert at 7:31 AM on August 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


Lesson #2: Leisure time & TV/Movie time becomes "Family Time" when you have children.
HAHAHAHA. I have young kids, so this might well change when they are teenagers, but I have gone from a few hours of TV a night pre-kids to maybe 2 hours a week afterward. I also spend an inordinate time at the dinner table encouraging vegetable and bread crust eating. I reckon my shared meal time durations have doubled.
posted by bystander at 7:31 AM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


50% of the unemployed are out of bed by 8am. Some people just don't make the most of an opportunity.
posted by biffa at 7:34 AM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ew ew ew! That graphic looks like a "before" illustration from an ad for an anti-blackhead treatment.
posted by longsleeves at 7:34 AM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Once scientists eliminate the need to sleep, imagine how much TV watching we'll get accomplished!
posted by DU at 7:37 AM on August 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


The average employed person only spends 5 hours working per day, but 1:19 traveling?

That doesn't feel right to me. It makes me think they are averaging numbers with a large variance and getting junk out of it.
posted by smackfu at 7:38 AM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


On the Internet, of course.

90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles.
posted by billysumday at 7:38 AM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


At noon, 1% of the unemployed are working.
posted by brain_drain at 7:40 AM on August 4, 2009


On average, the unemployed spend about a half-hour looking for work.

I've downsized the looking-for-work allotment to about three and a half minutes after an extensive cost-benefit analysis. Time formerly spent looking for work was found to be far more effectively utilized in sleep or watching Springer.
posted by scratch at 7:40 AM on August 4, 2009


No one is screwing? No wonder everyone is so crabby.
posted by Scoo at 7:43 AM on August 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


People sure do spend a lot of time watching TV and movies. I would have thought more of that would have been replaced by socializing, at least in the younger demographic.
posted by lunit at 7:46 AM on August 4, 2009


Interesting to note that for every demographic, the time spent watching TV and movies far outweighs Internet use, at least according to this. I wonder if people count watching TV and movies streaming on the net as "TV" or as "Internet?"
posted by dellsolace at 7:48 AM on August 4, 2009


White people really don't spend enough time daydreaming or sitting in a hot tub.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:48 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Having sex is under "personal care", along with showering and grooming and other ways of taking care of yourself? I think my boyfriend may have had something to do with the category selection process.
posted by creeky at 7:53 AM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Watching the boob tube and face stuffing. No wonder the national girth keeps expanding.
posted by caddis at 8:01 AM on August 4, 2009


Unemployed people spend more time shopping than employed people.
posted by jeremy b at 8:02 AM on August 4, 2009


I think this all makes more sense when you realize they left out some quotation marks: "TV and movies" is what those surveyed said when they didn't want to say what they were really doing...
posted by BeReasonable at 8:02 AM on August 4, 2009


You would think that there would be more socializing after 10pm? Want about us drunks??
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:04 AM on August 4, 2009


I was actually surprised that so few people were scarfing (allegedly). Maybe that's another of those activities that people didn't really want to admit they were doing.
posted by blucevalo at 8:05 AM on August 4, 2009


You would think that there would be more socializing after 10pm?

It's only weekdays, and once you average out all five of them... who goes out on Mondays or Tuesdays?
posted by smackfu at 8:06 AM on August 4, 2009


Wow, that is a totally friggin awesome interactive graph. Thanks!
posted by Bovine Love at 8:06 AM on August 4, 2009


The average employed person only spends 5 hours working per day, but 1:19 traveling?

Travelling = commuting. My wife has a total of two hours a day of commuting. As for the 5 hours working...Are they counting actual work? If so, I'd say that's probably accurate. What I find discouraging is how deep into the night the "Work" plot extends. Live to work, I guess...
posted by Thorzdad at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2009


I was actually surprised that so few people were scarfing (allegedly).

Scarfing?
posted by creeky at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2009


"At 4:20 p.m., 1% of all Americans couldn't remember or did not say what they were doing."

Hmm...
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


Unemployed people spend more time shopping than employed people.

Disposable income means you don't have to hit 5 stores to comparison shop for that pair of sneakers or jeans. This looks good? I'll take em.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:11 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


180 Trillion Leisure Hours Lost To Work Last Year
I read "Traveling" as "Trolling" in the New York Times chart.
posted by lukemeister at 8:12 AM on August 4, 2009


I was actually surprised that so few people were scarfing

I'd look at it as an indication that people are inhaling fast food. Looking at the breakdowns--by age group and education level--probably bears that out. The well-educated (that is, those who presumably have money and time to burn) spend more time eating; younger people and the unemployed spend less time.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:12 AM on August 4, 2009


I really like the afternoon nap that shows up in the 65+ bracket.
posted by milkrate at 8:13 AM on August 4, 2009


White people really don't spend enough time daydreaming or sitting in a hot tub.
Activities like ''doing nothing,'' ''sitting around,'' sitting in a hot tub or daydreaming peak around 5 p.m.
Age 15 to 24: 10 min per day
Age 25 to 64: 13 min per day
Age 65 or over 35 min per day
Hmmm. My husband and I both remember spending hours as teenagers just playing the same records over and over while day dreaming. My 16 year old does something similar-- she lays on her bed with her iPod in a state of semi-consciousness. While she rarely takes baths, she is very, very skilled at taking 30 minute showers. Both of these activities would be categorized as doing something (other leisure, grooming) but really they are about doing nothing.
It also includes an average of 54 seconds spent on ''personal or private activities,'' like having sex.
Oh dear. So if you average in a happily married couple having daily bouts of prolonged sex (including pre-coital and post-coital activity) that means that many, many people are reporting less than 1 second a day.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:14 AM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is a really fun graph to play with. I was also surprised that the "computer" line was so small accross age groups. I don't know about y'all but I generally spend about as much time on the computer as I do watching TV. But I really don't watch a lot of TV, and I tend to assume the rest of the country has started to get tired of it too. Guess I'm wrong.

Plus, it reminds me that I don't want kids.
posted by threeturtles at 8:19 AM on August 4, 2009


a happily married couple having daily bouts of prolonged sex

What is this mythical beast of which you speak?
posted by threeturtles at 8:21 AM on August 4, 2009


Hm... When I visit the link, I get a mostly blank page. Obviously the problem is on my end, probably the old-ass version of IE used by my employer or maybe some weird firewall or websense thing, but really a mostly blank page would be a pretty accurate graph for me.
posted by owtytrof at 8:26 AM on August 4, 2009


It seems strange to me that "religious services" was specifically divided from "relaxing and thinking." Aren't they essentially the same thing? Whether you're meditating on the week before you, or the scope of the universe, or nature of God, or nothing at all, it seems like it should get lumped together.

Also amused that sex somehow counts as "personal care" rather than "leisure." When I was doing EA Sports Workout on the Wii, I had to choose something for sexual activity, and "team sports" got the nod over "aerobics." Too bad Americans are too puritanical to just categorize sex on its own instead of as a euphemism.
posted by explosion at 8:28 AM on August 4, 2009


Travelling = commuting. My wife has a total of two hours a day of commuting.

Ture, and the average commute nationwide is actually higher than I would have guessed, at 24.4 minutes each way. But that still a big jump from 49 minutes to 79 minutes like the study has. I think they are averaging in people who drive or travel all day, which would skew the numbers.

What I find discouraging is how deep into the night the "Work" plot extends.

Eh, I think this is just people working overnight shifts. I'm actually surprised that only 2% of people work 3rd shift.
posted by smackfu at 8:30 AM on August 4, 2009


a happily married couple having daily bouts of prolonged sex

What is this mythical beast of which you speak?


Oh! I know this one!

happy
married
daily bouts of prolonged sex

Pick two, right?
posted by owtytrof at 8:30 AM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else think that the graph looked a lot like a "Fail Whale"?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:33 AM on August 4, 2009


What a great little graph. I hope we see more articles like this in future - such a fun way to present data. Even this humanities undergrad, who runs a mile at the scent of a statistic, is having fun.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 8:33 AM on August 4, 2009


If you click back and forth between "employed" and "unemployed" the graph looks like a mouth gobbling up your soul.
posted by orme at 8:37 AM on August 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


I wonder if people count watching TV and movies streaming on the net as "TV" or as "Internet?"

I doubt it. It's just that, believe it or not, most people don't use the internet all that much. Another MeFite pointed me to some interesting research from Pew on American life and the internet - a lot of people check email and look at grandkid pics on Facebook and that's it; meanwhile, teenagers text more than anything. For all of them the internet isn't something they spend hours on each evening, it's a utility. And a lot of people just a bit older than me still use the phone when they need info/hours/directions.
posted by Miko at 8:40 AM on August 4, 2009


Hmm, this is a tough one; I'm having a hard time trying to categorize what I do daily; would getting drunk and firing arrows at coworkers be Eating and Drinking? Sports? Work?

Oh, I see; there is a section called Relaxing and Thinking.

I'll put it there.
posted by quin at 8:41 AM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and finally, the really surprising thing for me about these graphs is how little they actually vary. I mean, the change is noticeable, but subtle. Basically, in the aggregate, we workand do errands during the day and straighten up the house, and watch stuff in the evening.
posted by Miko at 8:41 AM on August 4, 2009


I love graphs like this, but why do they never let you chose multiple selections?

I want to know what the White male graduates 16-25 are doing... Especially ones called Bert from Wisconsin. Who live in brick built houses. Married to women called Ethel.
posted by twine42 at 8:47 AM on August 4, 2009


Oh, I see; there is a section called Relaxing and Thinking.


Teddy: Look, you guys can go around if you want to; I'm crossing here. And while you guys are dragging your candy asses half way across the state and back, I'll be waiting for you on the other side, relaxing with my thoughts.

Gordie: Do you use your left hand or your right hand for that?
posted by The Bellman at 8:58 AM on August 4, 2009


Where in the data is spilling cheetos down your front and scratching your testicles for unemployed men? I thought it was virtually a lifestyle?
posted by MuffinMan at 8:58 AM on August 4, 2009


I'm really, really surprised there isn't an "Exercise" category. I guess it's "Sports":

Men spend 27 minutes a day playing sports or watching them in person, about twice as much as women. On an average day, 5 percent of men say they spent time walking.

I guess watching The Big Game is pretty much the same thing as walking?
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:06 AM on August 4, 2009


"[Personal care] also includes an average of 54 seconds spent on ''personal or private activities,'' like having sex."

Fifty-four seconds?
posted by reductiondesign at 9:16 AM on August 4, 2009


But that still a big jump from 49 minutes to 79 minutes like the study has. I think they are averaging in people who drive or travel all day, which would skew the numbers.

If you add in all the other 'traveling' - to go to the store, pick up kids from school/activities, get gas, visit the library -- all the stupid errands people do frequently - it's stunningly easy to rack up another 30 minutes behind the wheel, walking, or on the bus. I think 'traveling' has to account for all time you are moving between any two activities.
posted by Miko at 9:18 AM on August 4, 2009


Who are these assholes that are getting enough sleep to squew the average to 8 1/2 hours a night?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:21 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for noting that, Metroid Baby. What a strange, contextless breakdown.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:27 AM on August 4, 2009


Computer use around 1% of the time; talking on the phone about the same -- these are just wrong, sorry. About 70% of Americans have computers with broadband access, and other surveys indicate they spend an average of 12 hours or more online.
posted by beagle at 9:28 AM on August 4, 2009


in other news: no one in the world plays video games.
posted by shmegegge at 9:28 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


While she rarely takes baths, she is very, very skilled at taking 30 minute showers. Both of these activities would be categorized as doing something (other leisure, grooming) but really they are about doing nothing.

Time for you to have a talk with your daughter about birds, bees, detachable massage shower heads and water conservation.
posted by srboisvert at 9:35 AM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't see "sitting on the can," or is that in the "personal care" section? Also, "cursing" would be good to break out separately. I spend at least five minutes in quality ranting per day. More if I have an IE6 CSS problem to solve.
posted by maxwelton at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2009


But how much time is spent at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell?

Thanks, I'll show myself out.
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2009


I spend at least five minutes in quality ranting per day.

I keep mine down to two.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:47 AM on August 4, 2009


"[Personal care] also includes an average of 54 seconds spent on ''personal or private activities,'' like having sex."

    Fifty-four seconds?


Assuming a commercial break is anywhere between a minute-and-a-half and two minutes, you've got to work a quick trip to the fridge in there as well.
posted by Zack_Replica at 9:48 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who in their right mind makes 25-64 a demographic group?
posted by TypographicalError at 9:56 AM on August 4, 2009


Who in their right mind makes 25-64 a demographic group?

Adults with jobs.
posted by Miko at 10:09 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why is there a pronounced increase in the number of whites and hispanics eating/drinking around noon, but no marked increase in the number of blacks? Blacks don't eat lunch?
posted by desjardins at 10:22 AM on August 4, 2009


Is wanking "other leisure", "sports", "religious activity", "computer use" or "personal care"?

Yes.
posted by Spatch at 10:39 AM on August 4, 2009


Fifty-four seconds?

Reminds me of the only quote I remember from Ordinary People: "Sixty seconds or you haven't got it."
posted by djb at 10:39 AM on August 4, 2009


Not as pretty, but the web page for the survey has more info, like breakdowns within categories, and weekend data, and some charts.

This list of coding rules is pretty awesome too. For instance: Kissing hello or goodbye: Code as Socializing, Relaxing, and Leisure/Socializing and Communicating/Socializing and communicating with others (120101), not as Personal Care/Personal Activities.

Oh, that also explains the low computer numbers.
Using the computer: Code the activity the respondent did as the primary activity. For example, if the respondent used the computer to search for work, code as Job Search and Interviewing (0504xx). If the respondent used the computer to pay bills or for financial management, code as Household Activities/Household Management/Financial management (020901). If used for playing games, code as Socializing, Relaxing, and Leisure/Relaxing and Leisure/Playing games (120307).
posted by smackfu at 10:57 AM on August 4, 2009


The more education you get, the later you eat dinner.
posted by escabeche at 11:12 AM on August 4, 2009


"The more education you get, the later you eat dinner."

I think it's the other way around.
posted by RichardS at 12:09 PM on August 4, 2009


The later you get education, the more you eat dinner?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:25 PM on August 4, 2009


Boy, black people sure do watch a few percentage points more television.

Yeah, I said it. We were all thinking it.
posted by shadytrees at 3:37 PM on August 4, 2009


.5% of time spent today - Looking at NYT Infographics.
15% of time spent - Looking at GraphJam.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:44 PM on August 4, 2009


Why is there a pronounced increase in the number of whites and hispanics eating/drinking around noon, but no marked increase in the number of blacks? Blacks don't eat lunch?

I'm gonna go with what smackfu said:

That doesn't feel right to me. It makes me think they are averaging numbers with a large variance and getting junk out of it.

But according to the graph, black graze more through out the day, so that might be it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 AM on August 5, 2009


They should do a graph like this for cats.

8% yowling for food between 5 and 7 am
2% scratching door jambs and chewing wires
4% bathing self/sharpening claws
1% hissing/fighting with other cats
1% eating the food they were yowling for for two hours.
1% pooping/peeing. sometimes in the litterbox.
83% sleeping/shedding on my pillow/clothes/sofa
posted by desjardins at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Looks like one of those sand art desk toys - very psychedelic. I'd like to see one that measures what folks do my political affiliation. I think seething & growling would be very high in some demographics.
posted by valentinepig at 4:48 PM on August 5, 2009


Opps. ...by politica... that is
posted by valentinepig at 4:49 PM on August 5, 2009


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