How Much Time We Spend Alone and With Others

Oftentimes what we’re doing isn’t so important as who we’re spending our time with. The chart below, based on data from the American Time Use Survey, shows a simulated day for 100 people.

Time Spent with Others During a Single Day

A simulation of a weekday. Each dot represents a person.

ATUS asks participants what they did on a given day, along with who they were with during each activity. However, for privacy reasons, ATUS doesn’t ask who you’re with while you were sleeping or doing personal activities like grooming. That’s the “unavailable” category in the chart above. Most of that time is sleeping.

Who we spend time with changes as we get older. We looked at this before, but here’s a maybe more intuitive view. It’s the average percentage of a day we spend with others.

Less Time With Others as We Get Older

Average percentage of a weekday we spend with different people.

PERCENTAGE OF DAY SPENT WITH OTHERS

100%

Family

More time goes to our partner and children during this part of our lives.

In our later years, the kids leave the house, and more time is spent with our partners.

Children

Partner

80%

Unavailable

Sleeping and personal activities don’t include who a person was with.

60%

40%

Alone

There is also more alone time after we retire.

20%

Work

We also get jobs, spending time with co-workers.

Friends

Other

0%

15 TO 24

YEARS OLD

25 TO 34

35 TO 44

45 TO 54

55 TO 64

65 TO 74

75 AND OLDER

Source: American Time Use Survey, 2011–2020 / By: FlowingData

PERCENTAGE OF DAY SPENT WITH OTHERS

100%

More time goes to our partner and children during this part of our lives.

In our later years, the kids leave the house, and more time is spent with our partners.

Family

Children

Partner

80%

Unavailable

Sleeping and personal activities don’t include who a person was with.

60%

40%

Alone

There is also more alone time after we retire.

20%

Work

We also get jobs, spending time with co-workers.

Friends

Other

0%

15–24

YEARS

25–34

35–44

45–54

55–64

65–74

75+

Source: American Time Use Survey, 2011–2020 / By: FlowingData

You see responsibilities stack up in middle age and then die down as we get older. In our later years, we spend more time alone or with our partners.

The estimates are based on American Time Use Survey data from 2011 through 2020. I downloaded the data via IPUMS.

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