Time Use Survey 2008/09

With the aid of a time use survey it is possible to see how much time is spent by different groups in society on different activities each day. It is also possible to obtain information about the time of day the surveyed activities are performed. Time use surveys were previously carried out in Austria in1981 and 1992.

A new survey on time use was again conducted on behalf of the Federal Chancellery/Minister for Women and Public Services from end of March 2008 to April 2009. Around 8 200 individuals aged 10 and over were asked to keep a diary for a day in which they entered any activities lasting longer than 15 minutes. Participation in the survey was voluntary and the survey methodology was based on the European HETUS-Guidelines from EUROSTAT.

For more detailed information please refer to our Website of the report „Zeitverwendung 2008/09 – Ein Überblick über geschlechtsspezifische Unterschiede“ (PDF 766KB, available in German only).

The micro data of the Time Use Survey 2008/09 are now available. The forms (Data Use Agreement and the Terms of Delivery and Payment) can be found under further information.

Altogether– the average

It is merely a matter of time! Out of 24 hours or 1 440 minutes that we all have at our daily disposal, more than a half is spent for our personal care, like sleeping, eating or personal hygiene. Occupational activities for women take on average 2 hours and 40 minutes per day, for men 1 ¾ hours more. For education and further education people take almost 45 minutes of their daily time. Cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry: Women in Austria perform 3 hours and 42 minutes of housework daily, whereas men on average spend only 2 hours for housework. Women also invest 22 minutes more in “Social Contacts, Childcare, voluntary work”, which is mainly due to the higher time expenditure of women in childcare. Men have more than half an hour more time for leisure activities than women.

Housework – a fair division?

Housework is a woman's affair. There is still a dominant proportion of women in housework that shows that there is still a gender specific division of housework. The comparison of time makes it clear that the rate of men participating in housework is rising but, the bigger part is still done by women. On average 92% of women and 74% of men carry out domestic work. Since the 80ies the quota of men who are engaged in housework has been rising from not even a quarter to three quarters. But the time spent by men on domestic work is still the same. Today women dedicate about 4 hours daily to cooking, washing, cleaning and shopping while men spend 1 ½ hours less.

The participation of both sexes decreases when women and men are employed but for women much more than for men. This effect is not due to the higher rate of men engaged in housework but rather due to the fact that employed women do not have so much time to do the domestic work. Also in the group of employed people women have a higher rate for housework.

Childcare: A field of activities with many facets

Children change the daily life. Feeding, dressing, playing and comforting them, to look after the homework and many other things - childcare has many facets. In general: women care for the children, men play with them. Bathing, brushing the teeth, swaddling – activities that concern the hygiene of the child is done by 16.4% of women and 8.2% of men. Also feeding, cuddling, learning with the child and supervising the child at home or on the playground and to accompany the child to school or leisure events – all these activities are mainly performed by women. Only where the activity playing with the child is concerned the difference between the sexes is not big. The quota for women who play is 13% on average and for men 10%. On weekends this proportion is even reversed. 11% of women and 14% of men play with children.

Real leisure time

The time which is spent for– paid and unpaid – work is opposed to “spare time” which is used for sleeping, eating or personal care. The time that remains is “real leisure time”. Culture, sports and entertainment: almost 3 hours remain for women and about half an hour more for men. On weekends there is more time for leisure activities - for women 4 hours and 24 minutes, while men have 5 ¼ hours for their hobbies.

As in the surveys 1981 and 1992 watching TV is still the leisure activity no.1 and occupies most of the time (2 hours per day). Almost half an hour per day is spent on reading, and every second Austrian listens to music or to the radio during other activities for about 1 ½ hour per day.

Results (overview): Average time spent per day


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