Time Use Survey: 2009/10

Commentary

How did New Zealanders spend their time in 2009/10? | How do males and females spend their time? | How does a person's life stage affect their activities? | How does ethnicity affect time use patterns? | How does a person’s family role affect time use? | How does labour force status affect people’s activities? | Access to time use data and requests for further information

The 2009/10 Time Use Survey (TUS) provides information on how New Zealanders aged 12 years and over (12+) spend their time. The information was collected from two-day time use diaries between September 2009 and August 2010.

For most of us, time is rationed and its allocation both influences and reflects our lifestyles and opportunities. How people use their time is determined by the prevailing social and economic environment, cultural values, personal circumstances, and the expression of individual preference. Time-use statistics provide a unique perspective on people’s behaviour, standard of living, social roles, work-life balance, and social well-being, which is not readily apparent in conventional social and economic statistics.

This information release describes some significant time-use patterns in 2009/10, and compares results with the first TUS in 1998/99. A selection of findings about how time use varies across the population, and by sex, life stage, ethnicity, role in family, and labour force status are presented. More detailed results will be provided in future reports.

Two types of statistical measures are used to summarise time use – average time spent per day and participation rate. See the Definitions section for explanations of these measures.

Unless stated otherwise, all statistics refer to the primary activities people were doing at any one time. For example, a mother may have been preparing dinner and helping her children with their homework – whichever she recorded first in her diary was counted as the primary activity, and the other was coded as ‘simultaneous’. Where simultaneous activities are included in the estimates, this is noted.

How did New Zealanders spend their time in 2009/10?

Across all New Zealanders aged 12+, the average time spent on many activities remained stable between 1998/99 and 2009/10.

Sleep, work, and television are most time-consuming activities

The top five activities that New Zealanders aged 12+ spent most of their time on has not changed since 1998/99. These activities are sleeping, paid work, watching television, eating and drinking, and socialising with others. These five activities accounted for 69 percent of an average diary day in 2009/10 and 68 percent in 1998/99.

Average time spent on the top five detailed activities
1998/99 and 2009/10
Detailed activity 1998/99 2009/10
Hours and minutes(1)
Sleeping(2) 8:38 8:48
Work for pay or profit(3) 2:56 2:59
Watching television or video 2:02 2:08
Eating and drinking(2) 1:28 1:25
Socialising and conversation 1:09 1:07
1. Differences reported in the text are calculated from unrounded data and may not match those calculated from tables. See Data quality for further information about rounding.
2. Some of the differences between the two periods may be due to improvements in the way data was processed. See Data quality for further information about improvements to diary coding.
3. Includes people working without pay on a family farm or business.

People aged 15 years and over in Australia (2006) and the United States (2009) have the same top activities, though there are some differences in average time spent. See the Australian Bureau of Statistics (www.abs.gov.au, catalogue no. 4153.0) and United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/tus/) for more time-use information from these countries.

Within New Zealanders’ top five activities, the 7-minute rise in time watching television or video is the only statistically significant change not affected by improved activity coding. The changes in time spent sleeping, and eating and drinking, are subject to differences in the way diary information was coded in 1998/99 and 2009/10.
(See Data quality for information about improvements to diary coding.)

Division of time among primary activities in 2009/10 is similar to 1998/99

A high degree of stability between the 1998/99 and 2009/10 survey results was evident at the activity group level. Each of the 11 activity groups, shown in the graph below, contains a cluster of related detailed activities.

New Zealanders spent nearly half their time on personal care activities such as sleeping, eating, hygiene, and dressing (46 percent of an average day). This was up 6 minutes on 1998/99, but could be due to improved coding of time spent sleeping (see the Data quality notes about improvements to diary coding).

The other activity groups that New Zealanders spent more or less time on in 2009/10 were:

  • household work – down 9 minutes, to 2 hours and 2 minutes
  • education and training – down 6 minutes, to 39 minutes
  • child care – up 4 minutes, to 32 minutes
  • purchasing goods and services – up 4 minutes, to 40 minutes
  • religious, cultural, and civic activities – up 3 minutes, to 13 minutes (this includes time spent filling in the time use diary; half the increase is due to this activity).

See Data quality for explanations of improved activity coding for ‘formal education’ and ‘playing, reading, talking with child’.

Graph, Average time spent on primary activities per day, 1998/99 and 2009/10.

Most free time spent on passive leisure activities

New Zealanders aged 12+ spent an average of 4 hours and 36 minutes a day on passive mass media and social entertainment activities – over 80 percent of all leisure time. The most time-consuming leisure activities for all people aged 12+ were:

  • watching television or video – 2 hours and 8 minutes a day
  • socialising and conversation – 1 hour and 7 minutes
  • reading or personal writing – 26 minutes.

Watching television was also a common activity, recorded on 8 out of 10 diary days (82 percent participation rate). The participation rate for reading or personal writing was only 37 percent.

The time spent on exercise or playing sport was just 19 minutes on an average day – no change from 1998/99. Among people who participated in exercise and sports as a primary activity, the average time was markedly higher (see participant information in table below). Physical activities with another main purpose, such as cycling to work or walking the dog, are not included in these statistics.

Average time spent on exercise and sport by all people aged 12+ and participants only
2009/10
Primary activity All people (12+) Participants (12+)
Mean time spent on an average diary day
(hours and minutes)
Participation rate
(percent)
Active exercise 0:06 1:00 10
Playing active sport 0:06 2:10 5
Gentle exercise 0:05 0:57 9
Playing other sport 0:01 2:26 1

 

Total time spent on child care decreases

A lot of child care occurs alongside other primary activities. This ‘simultaneous’ child care may be active, such as a father talking with his daughter while eating breakfast, or passive, where the parent is not interacting with the child but is available if needed. Being ‘available for child care’ is classified only as a simultaneous activity.

The amount of time spent on all primary and simultaneous childcare activities was down 44 minutes in 2009/10, mainly due to a 48-minute fall in the time available for child care. The government policy of 20 hours free early childhood education a week (for three- and four-year-old children), introduced in July 2007, may be influencing this result. Participation in licensed early childhood education by children aged 0–4 years increased from 50.9 percent at 30 June 1999, to 58.7 percent at 30 June 2009 (see Ministry of Education Participation in early childhood education).

The overall decrease in all childcare activities was partly offset by a 4-minute increase in primary childcare activities – mainly due to an increase in time spent playing with, or talking or reading to, a child. People who participated in primary child care spent 33 minutes more a day on these activities than in 1998/99.
(See Data quality for information on improved coding rules for childcare activities.)

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How do males and females spend their time?

While some of the difference in how males and females spend their time is due to personal preferences, gender roles and social expectations also influence people’s time-use patterns. An important outcome of a time use survey is that it enables unpaid productive activities that are more commonly done by women, such as housework, care of family, purchasing household goods and services, and unpaid community work, to be measured and then valued in household and non-profit institutions satellite accounts. This allows time spent on paid and unpaid productive activities to be measured and compared.

Males and females spend similar amounts of time on productive activities

There is an anecdotal belief that women work a ‘double shift’ of paid work and unpaid domestic duties, spending more time than men on productive activities. However, both surveys show that males and females spent similar amounts of time on productive activities – about 6.75 hours a day in 2009/10 – though the ratio of paid to unpaid work varied between the sexes. The majority of men’s productive activities were related to paid work (63 percent), while the majority of women’s were unpaid activities (65 percent).

Graph, Average time spent on productive activities per day, by sex, 1998/99 and 2009/10.

Men spent 1 hour and 50 minutes more on labour force activity than women, due to differences in participation rates and time spent on activities by participants:

  • Men’s labour force activity participation rate was 51 percent, with participants spending 8 hours and 18 minutes a day
  • Women’s participation rate was 35 percent, with participants spending 6 hours and 48 minutes.

In contrast, females did more unpaid work (4 hours and 20 minutes compared with 2 hours and 32 minutes for men), mainly due to females spending about an hour more on household work than males. Across all unpaid work activities, the two that males spent more time on than females were home maintenance and grounds maintenance.

The gap in time spent on unpaid work between males and females fell slightly between the surveys – because females did 15 minutes less in 2009/10. This was driven by a 13-minute fall in time that females spent on household work, mainly due to spending less time on indoor cleaning (down 11 minutes). The time males spent on unpaid work also fell slightly, down 8 minutes.

While both women and men spent more time on primary childcare activities in 2009/10, women still spent more than twice as much time on child care as men (46 and 18 minutes, respectively). When simultaneous child care is included, women spent more time a day on all child care than men (5 hours and 19 minutes compared with 3 hours and 2 minutes). Women had higher participation rates in childcare activities (29 percent compared to 19 percent for males).

More females than males participate in unpaid work activities over four weeks

Some people participate in unpaid activities only occasionally in a month (eg volunteering for a non-profit organisation or helping a neighbour). To get an accurate measure of participation in all unpaid work activities, including occasional work not necessarily recorded in the diaries, people were asked about participation in a four-week reference period. The questions asked about unpaid work for their own household, for other households, for any organisation, and in 2009/10 only, for non-profit organisations.

More females participated in unpaid work during a four-week period than males. Except for unpaid work for another household, participation rates did not change by a statistically significant amount from 1998/99.

Graph, Percent of people participating in unpaid work in a four-week period, by sex, 1998/99 and 2009/10.  

The majority of all unpaid work was completed by males and females for their own households, and the time spent was similar for both surveys. In 2009/10, about 13 percent of time spent on unpaid work by males was for other households or organisations; for females it was about 10 percent. However, the time spent for organisations halved between 1998/99 and 2009/10 – down to 6 minutes a day for males, and down to 8 minutes for females.

Graph, Average time spent on unpaid work per day, by sex, 1998/99 and 2009/10.  

Females spend more time on social entertainment and males on sports and hobbies

While males and females both spent an average of 23 percent of their day on free-time activities (unchanged from 1998/99), they divided this time differently. Females spent more time on social entertainment than males, and had a higher participation rate for these activities (78 percent; 65 percent for males). Of all social entertainment activities, the largest sex difference was in time socialising with others (1 hour and 16 minutes for females; 59 minutes for males). Males spent more time on both sport and hobbies and mass media activities than females.

Graph, Average time spent on free-time activities per day, by sex, 1998/99 and 2009/10.  

Although males watched 13 minutes more television than females in 2009/10, the difference was smaller than in 1998/99 – a 10-minute increase for females and a negligible increase for males in the latest survey. Thus, the 7-minute rise in average time spent watching television by all people was driven by the longer time spent by females.

Time spent on reading and personal writing, the third-most common leisure activity, also changed for males and females. Both sexes spent 26 minutes on this activity in 1998/99, but in 2009/10 males spent 7 minutes less than females – males spent 3 minutes less a day than in 1998/99 and females 4 minutes more.

Males spent 56 minutes a day on sports and hobbies in 2009/10, compared with 33 minutes for females. Time spent playing computer or video games is the main contributor to this difference, driven by a higher participation rate for males, who also spent longer than female gamers:

  • male participation rate in playing computer or video games was 12 percent; participants spent an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes a day
  • female participation rate was 6 percent; participants spent 1 hour and 16 minutes.

Males also spent more time on active sport each day than females (9 minutes and 4 minutes, respectively). Although total population participation rates are relatively low, the rate for active sport among males was over twice that for females (7 percent and 3 percent). However, the average time spent by male and female participants was similar (2 hours and 13 minutes for males, and 2 hours and 5 minutes for females).

In 2009/10, the average time males spent playing computer or video games (17 minutes) was nearly twice that spent in active sport (9 minutes); in 1998/99 males spent a similar amount of time on these activities (11 and 10 minutes, respectively).

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How does a person’s life stage affect their activities?

A person’s life stage affects the types of activities they engage in and the length of time they spend on those activities. Four life stages are covered in this section:

  • Young people (12 to 24 years)
  • Prime working-age people (25 to 44 years)
  • Middle-aged people (45 to 64 years)
  • Older people (65 years and over (65+))

People at different life stages use their time in different ways

Life stage has a strong effect on time-use patterns. Four of the 11 primary activity groups show higher variability in the time spent on them at different life stages:

  • labour force activity – prime working-age and middle-aged people spent a much higher proportion of their day on employment activities than young and older people
  • education and training – young people spent a substantially higher amount of time on learning activities than all other life stages
  • household work – time spent increased successively across the life stages
  • mass media activity – older people spent the most time on these activities, and prime working-age people spent the least.

Graph, Average time spent on primary activities per day, by life stage, 2009/10.

Young people’s activity focuses on education and leisure

Young people spent 2 hours and 22 minutes a day on education and training activities, compared with 15 minutes or less for each of the other stages. This is due to young people having a high participation rate (40 percent), and spending 6 hours on education and training activities on days they participated.

When compared with people at other life stages, young people did the least ‘productive’ work (labour force activity and unpaid work combined) at 3 hours and 42 minutes a day – an average of 1 hour and 56 minutes on labour force activity and 1 hour and 46 minutes on unpaid work.

Young people spent more time than other people on social entertainment and sports and hobbies. They spent an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes a day on sports and hobbies, but the majority of their free time was spent on passive leisure activities:

  • 2 hours and 59 minutes on mass media activities
  • 1 hour and 53 minutes on social entertainment.

They also spent more time on personal care activities than prime working-age and middle-aged people.

There was a large difference between young males and females for time spent on sports and hobbies. On average, young males spent about 1 hour more on these activities than females, due to differences in participation rates and time spent by participants:

  • young males’ participation rate was 60 percent; participants spent 2 hours and 56 minutes
  • young females’ participation rate was 39 percent; participants spent 1 hour and 51 minutes.

The time difference for men and women on sports and hobbies was smaller at other life stages; with no significant differences in participation rates.

Working-aged people have the least free time and do the most child care

People in the two working-age life stages – prime working-age and middle-aged – do the most labour force activity, averaging nearly 4.5 hours a day. They also had less free time, and spent:

  • just over 30 minutes a day on sports and hobbies, compared with 1 hour and 15 minutes for young people
  • 2 hours and 30 minutes (prime working-age) and 3 hours and 2 minutes (middle-aged) a day on mass media activities, compared with 4 hours and 47 minutes for older people.

People in the two working-age groups spent different amounts of time on childcare activities. Those at the prime working-age spent the most time raising young children – at 1 hour and 9 minutes a day caring for children, compared with 17 minutes for middle-aged people. Perhaps due to their child-rearing responsibilities, prime working-age adults spent 30 minutes less on household work than middle-aged people.

Older people are doing more paid work and do the most unpaid work

The labour force activity of older people has increased over the past two decades (see Household Labour Force Survey in Infoshare), which is reflected by increased participation rates across the two surveys – the rate rose from 11 percent to 17 percent in 2009/10 for older men, and from 3 percent to 8 percent for older women. Compulsory retirement at 65 years ended shortly after the 1998/99 survey, and the average time spent on labour force activity by older people nearly doubled – to 40 minutes in 2009/10. The time spent by older labour force participants was much higher – for men it was 5 hours and 56 minutes a day, for women it was 4 hours and 43 minutes (similar to 1998/99 times).

In 2009/10, older people spent 4 hours and 31 minutes on unpaid work on an average day, similar to the time in 1998/99. This was more than double the time young people spent (1 hour and 46 minutes), and more than for prime working-age and middle-aged people (3 hours and 55 minutes, and 3 hours and 41 minutes, respectively).

In a four-week period, 38 percent of older people did unpaid work for an organisation – 35 percent had participated for a non-profit organisation, a higher rate than at other stages. However, fewer older people than working-age people participated in unpaid work for other households or organisations, combined (65 percent and 72 percent, respectively).

Older people spent the most time on unpaid work for organisations (12 minutes a day). However, this is 9 minutes less than in 1998/99. The time spent on unpaid work for organisations also declined for prime working-age and middle-aged people (down 7 and 12 minutes, respectively).

Older women spend more time alone than older men

New to the 2009/10 survey, people were asked to state who they were with for all activities. Respondents selected one or more of five responses:

  • alone
  • with family members from their own household
  • with family members who live in another household
  • with other known people (this may include non-family household members)
  • with unknown people.

People at the older life stage spent the most time alone, at 9 hours and 18 minutes a day, while young people spent only 4 hours and 6 minutes alone. Older women spent nearly 4 hours more alone than older men, who spent more time with family from their household than older women did (14 hours and 24 minutes compared with 9 hours and 57 minutes). These differences are probably due to women living longer than men.

Conversely, among people under 45 years, males spent about an hour more alone than females:

  • young people – males spent 4 hours and 35 minutes alone; females 3 hours and 37 minutes
  • prime working-age people – men spent 4 hours and 37 minutes alone; women 3 hours and 13 minutes.

Young people spent more time with other people they know (7 hours and 34 minutes) and with unknown people (2 hours and 5 minutes) than people at other life stages. The time spent with non-family members fell with increasing age. Older people spent 2 hours and 9 minutes with other known people and 44 minutes with unknown people. Working-age people spent more time with family in their household than other life stages. Young females spent more time with family in their household, other family outside their household, and unknown people than young males did.

Graph, Average time spent alone and with others per day, by life stage, 2009/10.

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How does ethnicity affect time-use patterns?

Time spent with family and on unpaid work varied by the ethnic groups people identified with. Ethnicity is a self-perceived measure of cultural affiliation, so people can belong to more than one ethnic group. This section compares four ethnic groups: European, Māori, Pacific peoples, and Asian.
(See Data quality for information about ethnicity.)

These four ethnic groups have different age distributions (eg the European group has a much higher proportion of people aged 65+). Age effects can sometimes partly explain the time differences mentioned below, however unless otherwise noted, ethnic differences also exist.
(See Data quality section for information about how age differences can affect differences in time spent on activities.)

Pacific and Asian people spend the most time with family from their household

People of Pacific and Asian ethnicities spent more time each day with family who live in the same household than Māori and European people did – Pacific peoples spent 15 hours and 40 minutes with this group while Europeans spent 13 hours and 6 minutes.

In all ethnic groups, women spent more time than men with family members from the same household. The difference is quite pronounced for Pacific peoples, as Pacific women spent 3 hours and 31 minutes more each day than Pacific men, while the difference for European men and women was 50 minutes. European women spent less time with family from their own household than women from other ethnic groups – 1 hour and 4 minutes less than Māori women, 3 hours and 12 minutes less than Asian women, and 3 hours and 53 minutes less than Pacific women.

The time spent with family who live in other households also varied across ethnic groups. Māori spent 2 hours and 5 minutes a day with family who live in other households, while Pacific peoples spent 1 hour and 56 minutes, and Asian people spent only 37 minutes.

There were differences within the sexes across ethnic groups in time spent with family from other households:

  • Māori men spent 1 hour and 48 minutes each day, more time than men in other ethnic groups spent with family who live elsewhere
  • Māori women spent 2 hours and 19 minutes each day, more than European women (1 hour and 34 minutes) and Asian women (37 minutes).

There were also differences between the sexes in time spent with family from other households, and the size of the difference varied across ethnic groups:

  • Pacific women spent 1 hour and 44 minutes more with family outside the household than Pacific men
  • European women spent 21 minutes more than European men.

Differences in time spent alone also existed – European people spent 5 hours and 30 minutes alone each day, while Pacific peoples spent 3 hours and 21 minutes alone.

Graph, Average time spent alone and with others per day, by ethnicity, 2009/10.

Asian people spend the least time on unpaid work

Māori and Pacific peoples spent around 3 hours and 30 minutes a day on unpaid work activities, while Asian people spent closer to 3 hours a day.

Māori and Pacific peoples spent more time each day on primary childcare activities (48 minutes and 52 minutes, respectively), than Asian (36 minutes) and European people (29 minutes). This difference is driven by higher participation rates in childcare activities for Māori and Pacific peoples.

As Europeans have an older population, they spent the most time on household work (2 hours and 6 minutes; see Older people are doing more paid work and do the most unpaid work). Women spent more time on this activity than men, although the size of this difference varied by ethnicity – Asian women spent 1 hour and 32 minutes more each day on household work than Asian men; Māori women spent 52 minutes more than Māori men.

Graph, Average time spent on unpaid work activities per day, by ethnicity, 2009/10.

Europeans and Māori spent 17 minutes doing unpaid work for other households on an average day, twice the 8 minutes Asian people spent. European women spent 20 minutes each day on this activity, slightly more time than European men (14 minutes) and twice the time spent by Asian women (9 minutes).

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More Māori and European people participate in unpaid work for others over four weeks

Māori and European people were more likely to take part in unpaid work for other households or organisations (combined) in a four-week reference period (74 and 71 percent, respectively) than Pacific (62 percent) and Asian people (46 percent).

Asian people’s lower overall participation rate in unpaid work for others over the four-week period was due to:

  • 37 percent of Asians participated in unpaid work for other households (compared with Māori and European rates of 69 and 63 percent, respectively)
  • 21 percent of Asians participated in unpaid work for any organisation (compared with Māori and European rates of 32 and 34 percent, respectively).

Graph, Percent of people participating in unpaid work in a four-week period, by ethnicity, 2009/10.

How does a person’s family role affect time use?

The different roles that people have within their family or household affect the types of activities they participate in and how much time they spend on these. Ten family roles are presented in this information release though the following sections focus mainly on parental roles, examining the effect on time-use patterns of raising children with and without a partner.
(See Data quality for an explanation of the family roles.)

Family role has greatest impact on time spent on employment and education activities

The 11 groups of activities can be further clustered into four categories of time: personal care activities, employment and education activities, unpaid work activities, and leisure activities.
(See Data quality for information about grouping activities into four types of time.)

Family role affects how much of the day is spent on each of the four types of time. The greatest range in total time spent was for employment and education activities and the least was for personal care activities. Time spent on unpaid work also varies across the family roles.

Graph, Percent of an average day spent on four types of time, by family role, 2009/10.

Sole parents spend less time on labour force activity than coupled parents

Being a sole parent has a substantial negative effect on time spent on labour force activity. Sole parents with at least one child under 15 years at home spent an average of about 2 hours less on labour force activity than coupled parents with young children. The difference between sole and coupled parents with older children was similar, at 1 hour and 48 minutes.

However, the gap between sole and coupled parents with young children has lessened, because sole parents’ labour force activity increased. In 2009/10, sole parents with young children did an average of 41 minutes more paid work a day than in 1998/99, giving a daily average of 2 hours and 13 minutes. This increase can only be reliably attributed to the increase in time spent by sole mothers, due to high variability around the labour force activity estimates for sole fathers with children under 15 years. There was no change for other parental roles between the surveys.

Graph, Average time spent by parents on labour force activity per day, by sex, 2009/10.

For three of the four parental family roles, a large difference exists in the time men and women spent on labour force activity (‘sole parent with child 15+’ is the exception):

  • When parenting within a couple, women did less labour force activity than men, particularly when children under 15 years were in the household
  • Among sole parents with children under 15 years, men spent just over 3 hours more a day on labour force activity than women (this may be influenced by child custody arrangements).

Sole mothers spent less time on labour force activity than coupled mothers:

  • sole mothers with children under 15 years spent 28 minutes less than coupled mothers
  • sole mothers with older children spent 57 minutes less than coupled mothers.

Sole fathers with children aged 15+ did 2 hours and 29 minutes less labour force activity than coupled fathers. Due to the high variability in time spent on labour force activity by sole fathers with young children, comparisons with coupled fathers are not reliable.

Coupled mothers with young children spend more time on housework and child care than sole mothers

Household work activities were the most time-consuming primary unpaid work for all parental family roles, with females spending more time than males. Among women with at least one child under 15 years, coupled mothers spent 17 minutes more on household work than sole mothers.

Across the total population aged 12+, females did more child care than males (see Men and women spend similar amounts of time on productive activities), and parents with children under 15 years did the most child care. Coupled mothers with at least one child under 15 years spent more time on primary child care than sole mothers (2 hours and 19 minutes and 1 hour and 55 minutes, respectively).

Mothers were more likely to participate in childcare activities on an average day than fathers. Among coupled parents with young children, female participants spent longer than male participants – 2 hours and 49 minutes compared with 1 hour and 35 minutes for males.

However, looking at time spent by sole parents with children under 15 years who participated in child care on their diary days reveals negligible differences in time spent by mothers and fathers. The difference in time spent for all sole parents with children under 15 years is due to women’s higher participation rate (which is likely to be influenced by custody arrangements).

Graph, Average time spent on household work and child care per day, parents with children under 15 years, by sex, 2009/10.

Overall, sole parents with children under 15 years spent more time on unpaid work than people in other family roles – 23 percent of an average day (about 5 hours and 30 minutes) and about 30 minutes less than in 1998/99. As coupled mothers and fathers can share many household and childcare duties, the average time they individually spent on unpaid work (4 hours and 48 minutes, or 20 percent of a day) was less than that for sole parents, and has not changed since 1998/99.

How does labour force status affect people’s activities?

The extent to which people participate in the labour market shaped the way they allocated their time. This section presents information for New Zealanders aged 15+ who worked full time (usually at least 30 hours per week) or part time (up to 30 hours per week), or were unemployed or not in the labour force.

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People in full-time employment do the most productive activities

People who worked full time spent more time in total on productive activities (total labour force activity and unpaid work, combined) than people with other labour force statuses. The majority of their productive activities were employment-related, though the general pattern of men doing more paid work and women doing more unpaid work was still apparent among the full-time employed.

There was no difference in time spent on labour force activity between men and women employed part time (around 2 hours and 30 minutes a day), yet part-time employed women did more unpaid work, leading to women spending 1 hour and 45 minutes more on all productive activities. Women who were unemployed or not in the labour force also spent about 1 hour and 45 minutes more a day on productive activities than men with the same labour force status, due to women doing much more unpaid work for their own households.

Graph, Average time spent per day on productive activities, people aged 15+, by labour force status, 2009/10.

When women were employed full time, they did significantly less unpaid work than women from other labour force statuses. Men employed full time also did less unpaid work than men employed part time or not in the labour force (though the differences are smaller), but the difference from unemployed men is not significant.

People employed full time spent 2 hours and 37 minutes on all unpaid work activities, combined, while those not in the labour force spent the most time on these activities, at 4 hours and 43 minutes.

Average time spent on productive activities
People aged 15+, by labour force status and sex
2009/10
Labour force status Labour force
activity(1)
Unpaid work Productive
activities(2)
Men Women Men Women Men Women
Hours and minutes
Employed full time 6:39 5:30 2:14 3:16 8:53 8:45
Employed part time 2:40 2:30 2:47 4:42 5:27 7:12
Unemployed(3) 0:29** 0:13** 2:40 4:40 3:08 4:53
Not in the labour force(3) 0:16** 0:04 3:29 5:27 3:44 5:31
1. The estimates for time spent on labour force activities are affected by diaries being completed on public holidays, weekend days, or during periods of leave from work. See Data quality for further information.
2. Due to rounding, individual figures may not sum to productive activity totals.
3. Labour force status was derived from the person questionnaire, and not from activities recorded in the diaries. Labour force activity may include job search activities and episodes of paid work.
Symbol: ** Relative sampling error greater than 50 percent.

 

People in full-time employment spent less time on productive activities in 2009/10 than in 1998/99. This time fell 22 minutes for men and 32 minutes for women. For both sexes, the falls were due mainly to less time being spent on labour force activities (down 20 minutes for men, and 32 minutes for women). The government-subsidised nine-day working fortnight for full-time employees in large businesses, in place over the 2009/10 survey period, may have contributed to the fall, as may the 2007 increase to minimum annual leave entitlement.

Unemployed people are doing more education and training

In 2009/10, unemployed people spent about 1 hour on education and training, up nearly 30 minutes from 1998/99. The participation rate rose to 23 percent in 2009/10, with participants spending 4 hours and 49 minutes a day on education and training activities. Many more unemployed men participated in 2009/10 than in 1998/99, while the participation rate for women remained similar. The proportion of unemployed people aged 15 to 19 years was higher in the year-ended September 2010 than the September 1999 year (see the Household Labour Force Survey in Infoshare), which may also affect the time spent on education activities by all unemployed people.

Unemployed people spent 3 hours and 59 minutes on productive activities in 2009/10, which was 38 minutes less than in 1998/99. This fall largely resulted from unemployed men spending less time on unpaid work activities in 2009/10 (down about 1 hour), which may be partly due to the increase in education and training.

Time spent on labour force activity by unemployed people has not changed since 1998/99. They spent about 21 minutes a day on these activities in 2009/10, which includes searching or applying for jobs and may include episodes of paid work (labour force status was derived from the person questionnaire, not activities recorded in the diaries). About 13 percent of unemployed people engaged in labour force activity on their diary days, for an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes a day.

Unemployed people spent the most time on sports and hobbies of all labour force statuses, averaging about 1 hour and 10 minutes a day. Men spent nearly an hour more than women for both sports and hobbies, and mass media activities. Overall, unemployed people spent about 2 hours on social entertainment and 3 hours and 41 minutes on mass media activities, which is similar to the times in 1998/99.

Less than 5 percent of the total working-age population was unemployed during both survey periods – 4.5 percent in the year ended 30 September 2010 and 4.9 percent in the year ended 30 June 1999 (see the Household Labour Force Survey in Infoshare).

Fewer women participating in paid work on weeknights than in 1998/99

This section presents information about when people aged 15–64 years did paid work, by counting the number of people at work each hour of the day and night as a proportion of all people who did paid work.

The majority of people who worked on any weekday participated in paid work activities between 8:00am and 5:00pm. Outside these standard hours, the percentage of people working varied from an average of 22 percent at 6:00pm to only 3 percent at 12 midnight.

Graph, Percent of people working on the hour on weekdays, people aged 15 to 64, by sex, 1998/99 and 2009/10.

When compared with 1998/99, there was little change in the pattern of hours people worked on a weekday. However, in 2009/10, fewer women worked from 9:00pm onwards on weekday evenings – a smaller proportion was recorded working at 9:00pm, 10:00pm, and 12 midnight (down 1 to 3 percentage points at each hour).

When looking at weekends, the only change for men was that more were working for pay or profit at 1:00pm in 2009/10 than in 1998/99 (51 percent and 41 percent, respectively). Among women, weekend changes were negligible.

When week and weekend days are combined, in 2009/10 participation rose at many of the time points for both men and women. A higher proportion of male participants were working at each hour from 9:00am to 3:00pm, and more women were working at each hour from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

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Access to time use data and requests for further information

For more detailed data, see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ section. See Data quality for information about the content of the tables.

See Data quality for information on how to access time use data.

For technical information contact:
Bridget Murphy
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

Next release…
Further results will be published as they become available.