Labor Day is approaching, signaling the end of summer is near. In the United States, Labor Day—a federal holiday which celebrates and honors the accomplishments of American workers past and present—is the first Monday in September. For most Americans, Labor Day means a day off from work and a three-day weekend. Just what do Americans do for fun when they aren’t working?
The average American (age 15 years and older) spends 6.43 hours in leisure and sports activities on weekends and holidays according to the 2015 results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey. How much time Americans spend on leisure and sports activities and what specifically they are doing with their leisure time varies significantly with employment status, gender, age, and educational attainment.
Those who are employed, for example, spend an average of 5.81 hours on weekends and holidays in leisure and sports activities compared with 7.46 hours for individuals who are not employed. Both groups spend about half of their leisure time watching television. Employed individuals spend more time (0.40 hours) and a larger share of their leisure time (7%) participating in sports, exercise and recreation while individuals who are not employed spend only 0.26 hours or 3% of their leisure time.
Men spend more time in leisure and sports activities on the weekend and holidays than women. On average, men spend 7.02 hours compared with 5.88 hours for women. Men spend 3.75 hours on average watching television on weekends and holidays, accounting for 53% of their leisure time while women spend 2.86 hours or 49% of their leisure time. Women, however, spend an average of 1.13 hours socializing and communicating on weekends and holidays (19% of their leisure time) while men spend 1.00 hours (14% of their leisure time).
By age group, 35- to 44-year olds spend the least amount of time on leisure activities on weekends and holidays at 5.43 hours while those 65 to 74 years old (7.42 hours) and 75 years and older (8.21 hours) spend the most. Younger individuals spend less of their leisure time reading and watching television and more of their leisure time using the computer and playing games and participating in sports, exercise, and recreation when compared with older individuals.
Note: Relaxing/thinking time for 20- to 24-year olds was estimated.
Individuals with more education spend less time on average in leisure and sports activities on weekends and holidays. Individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree spend an average of 6.03 hours in leisure and sports activities on weekends and holidays compared with 6.83 hours for those with only a high school diploma. College graduates spend less of their leisure time watching television and more of it reading and socializing compared with those with less than a college degree.