Time flies, doesn't it? Of course, we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but have you ever stopped to think about just how much time you spend on the various tasks that make up your day, week, year, and beyond?
At Deputy, we know that understanding how and where you spend your time is essential to managing it effectively. That's why we analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to determine how much time the average American spends on tasks — like working, cleaning up around the house, or catching up with friends — throughout their lifetime. So don't just watch the clock tick by! Join us as we delve into the minutes, hours, and years that define our existence.
Over the course of a lifetime, Americans on average will spend more time working (15 years, 3 months, and 7 days) than they will relaxing (13 years, 11 months, and 9 days).
On average, residents of Washington DC will work the most over a lifetime and residents of West Virginia and Alaska will work the least.
In a lifetime, Americans spend on average:
28 years, 2 months, and 5 days sleeping
15 years, 3 months, and 7 days working and doing work-related activities
13 years, 11 months, and 9 days relaxing and doing leisure activities
7 years, 7 months, and 6 days doing household activities
6 years, 3 months, and 15 days caring for children
5 years, 7 months, and 13 days socializing and communicating
4 years eating and drinking
1 year, 5 months, and 16 days traveling to work
Using BLS American Time Use Survey data, we found the average amount of hours Americans spent on eight different activities each year (of those that engage in the activity), over the course of ten years (2011-2021, with no data for 2020 to reference due to COVID-19 pandemic affecting the study).
Using this data and CDC data on average life expectancy, we then determined how many days in a year, and then years in a lifetime, Americans (overall and by gender) spend doing these activities to ultimately determine the percentage of their lifetime spent doing specific activities.
To localize the data, we then calculated the number of years in a lifetime residents in each U.S. state spend working. To do so, we compared our BLS data on "Working and Work Related Activities" and "Traveling to Work" with the average number of years Americans work by state (average retirement age by state subtracted by 18, the average age to join the workforce). We referenced Forbes Advisor for the average retirement age by state data.