Discover more from Cheerful Data
Leisure hours per week...
...have increased by 7 hours since 1965
We saw in the previous post that time spent doing household chores has declined massively in recent decades. But despite that you probably still feel rushed, and there remains a feeling today that perhaps more than ever we work hard and never really get to enjoy the fruits of our labours. What is the point of all this development if we spend our best years hunched over a laptop?
From this perspective, there is more good news. While you might feel busier than ever, the reality is in the US (and most developed nations) we have more leisure time than at any point in the past, up from 31 hours a week in 1965 to 38 hours in 2015. This time is spent pursuing our hobbies, playing sports, gardening and volunteering - surely things we all value highly.
The drop in leisure time in the late 90s and early 2000s is not due primarily to us working harder, but to spending more time with our children. You might think that the rise of two-income households would have resulted in parents spending less time with their children, but that is simply not the case. In most developed countries time spent with children has massively increased in the last 50 years. And that time is not included in the leisure graph above.
So, assuming most of us want to spend time on leisure activities and with our kids, from that perspective life is better today than it ever has been.
Sources: Enlightenment Now by Stephen Pinker, and https://ourworldindata.org/parents-time-with-kids