A Global Look At How People Spend Their Time

How People Globally Spend Their Time

A Global Look at How People Spend Their Time

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but we don’t spend them the same way. Some prioritize family time or household chores, while others cherish a good night’s sleep or seeing friends.

This chart from Our World in Data compares the average time allocated across various day-to-day activities, from paid work to leisurely activities.

The data for the 33 countries profiled come from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Time Use database, for ages 15 through 64 years old.

Countries with the Highest Time Spent Per Activity

As the chart shows, basic patterns—work, rest, and play—emerge across the board.

When it comes to paid work, Japan emerges the highest on this list with approximately 6.5 hours per day. However, this country also has some of the highest overtime in a workweek. In contrast, European countries such as France and Spain report nearly half the same hours (less than 3 hours) of paid work per day on average.

Certain trends, however, transcend cultural boundaries. Those in Mexico find themselves spending significant portions of the day (3 hours or more) on housework, as do those in Portugal.

Activity category Country with highest time spent Time spent in minutes
Paid work ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan 326 (Approx. 6.5 hrs)
Education ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea 57 
Care for household members ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland 61
Housework ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico 187 (Approx. 3 hrs)
Shopping ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany 32
Other unpaid work & volunteering ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan 98 (Approx. 1.5 hrs)
Sleep ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa 553 (Approx. 9 hrs)
Eating  ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France 133 (Approx. 2 hours)
Personal care ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France 107 (Approx. 1 hr 45 min)
Sports ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain 42
Attending events ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland 42
Seeing friends ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa 82
TV and radio ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S. 148 (Approx. 2.5 hrs)
Other leisure
(Religious/ civic duties, or unspecified)
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway 154 (Approx. 2.5 hrs)
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