How the Typical American Day Has Changed in the Last 15 Years

The United States today is different than it was in the early 2000s. We’ve pushed through a major recession, seen the end of boy bands, and elected the first African-American president. Those events aside, day-to-day life also has changed significantly.

For instance, things like housework and shopping take less time for us to accomplish. Websites like Amazon and superstores like Walmart mean that if we choose to do so, we only have to visit one destination for everything on our lists—from groceries to cleaning products, from clothes to homewares.

On the flip side, creating the processes, programs, and marketplaces that make our world more streamlined is time-consuming. As a result, Americans have started spending larger chunks of their days at work.

The changes in a typical American day really come down to a generational shift. Millennials, those who were born between 1981 and 1997, came of age and became the largest living generation between 2003 and 2017, overtaking baby boomers.

It’s millennials’ preferences, habits, and priorities that really affect how a typical American day looks now. Their numbers, more than anything else, affect the percentage of the population that participates in any given activity and how much time, on average, is spent on that activity.

Stacker took a look at how the typical American day has changed based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey between 2003 and 2017 (updated in June 2018). We checked how (and why) everything from household management to work commutes is changing, ranking the categories in alphabetical order. Here, check out how Americans are spending their time these days.

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