Covid Changed How We Use Our Time, Down to the Minute

The pandemic upended each side of each day life final yr — work, leisure, even sleep. New authorities knowledge paints the most detailed image but of simply how elementary these disruptions have been.

Americans spent practically 10 waking hours a day at house in 2020, in contrast with lower than eight hours a day in 2019. They commuted much less (11 minutes a day in 2020 on common, down from 16 minutes a day in 2019), shopped much less (17 minutes in 2020, down from 21) and labored out extra (22 minutes, up from 19).

And, maybe unsurprisingly in a yr of canceled holidays and government-mandated lockdowns, they spent much more time alone — practically an hour a day greater than in 2019. Seniors, specifically, spent greater than eight hours a day alone in 2020.

Those numbers are from the American Time Use Survey, which yearly asks 1000’s of individuals to observe, minute by minute, how they spend their day. Normally, the modifications are small from one yr to the subsequent. Not this time.

Some of the most telling modifications are the ones that replicate the distinctive nature of the pandemic. People spent extra time speaking on the telephone final yr, and fewer time socializing outdoors their properties. They spent extra time caring for their lawns, and fewer time caring for their private look. And, after all, they spent much more time working from house: About 42 % of employed adults have been working at house on a given day in 2020, practically double the share in 2019.

For some individuals, the disruptions have been much more elementary. Mass layoffs meant that tens of millions fewer individuals had jobs in 2020, pushing down the common time spent working by 17 minutes on common. (Among those that stored their jobs, there was little change in the period of time they labored.)

Parents with school-aged kids spent a median of 1.6 hours extra a day offering “secondary child care” — time spent caring for kids whereas additionally doing different issues, similar to working. Women shouldered extra of that burden than males.

The pandemic even affected the knowledge itself: The authorities put the survey on maintain from mid-March till mid-May, so the numbers don’t replicate the most intense interval of lockdowns and enterprise closings final yr. (The report launched Thursday compares the interval from mid-May to the finish of the yr in 2020 to the similar interval in 2019.)