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The American pandemic day: more kids. More TV. More Z’s. More time alone

In the past year, Americans have watched more television, played more computer games, thought and read a little more, slept a bit, and on average spent an extra hour each day alone and two extra hours arguing or teaching their children.

An exercise? Fur.

IN pandemic have changed daily life for much of 2020, and an update from government figures released Thursday showed just how much.

The US Time Use Study, a detailed report by the Department of Labor on what people do every day, confirmed much of what is already known or suspected about the months downstream.
isolation and quarantine, from the increased burden of childcare, especially for women, to a surge in work from home.

For example, from May to December 2020, the proportion of people working from home almost doubled, from 22 percent to 42 percent compared to the same months in 2019. This change has affected women more than men – among those who work almost doubled. women surveyed did this from home last year, compared with just over a third of men – and this skewed heavily towards those with higher levels of education and white-collar jobs.

Nearly two-thirds of people with a college degree worked from home, compared with less than 20 percent of people without a college degree. Among those working in the financial sector, almost 70 percent worked from home, more than doubled from last year. In contrast, the proportion of people working from home in the leisure and hospitality industry increased from 11 percent to 19 percent.

The rift between those who could do their jobs at the dinner table and those faced with the choice between emerging – and possibly getting sick – or losing income has been one of the defining economic and social impacts of the pandemic and continues to shape recovery.

While most industries are approaching pre-pandemic employment levels, for example, the leisure and hospitality industry still has more than 10 percent fewer jobs than it did before the health crisis.

Three hours of TV?

The study of time use goes deeper to show what people were doing on a day-to-day basis at a time when much of the country was forced to change their schedules, millions were unemployed, schools were closed, and mainstream entertainment ranged from restaurants to movie theaters. – were shuttered.

For adults in families with children under 13, this meant that the time spent caring for them increased from five hours four minutes a day in 2019 to six hours three minutes last year – even if it also meant answering. for calls at work. In households with young children, more than approximately 90 minutes were spent on childcare. Although growth was ubiquitous, the division
work continues to be biased towards women, who spend more than seven hours a day on “secondary” childcare — looking after a child while doing other things — compared to just under five hours a day.

The rest of the day of the pandemic was something of a revolution. People got about 10 minutes more sleep per day and an additional half hour of free time – 37 minutes for men and 27 minutes for women. Of these, about 19 minutes were devoted to more than three hours of daily television viewing.

Another 10 minutes were spent on computer games.

The seven-minute daily loss of “time spent in communication and personal communication” was compensated by the same time that was devoted to “relaxation and reflection.”

For those over 15, there was an additional four minutes of reading and three minutes of “sports, exercise and relaxation.”

Among those between the ages of 15 and 19, there was even more free time – about an hour and a half a day, most of which was spent on television and “using the computer for leisure time,” the opening is likely to add to the debate about the broader impact of school closures on physical and mental health of adolescents.

Other results may raise similar questions. Everyone spent more time alone – an hour a day on average, but for those between the ages of 15 and 19, time alone increased 40%, from 4.3 to 6 hours a day. It’s not all bad.


In one study, many older adults reported positive benefits from spending more time alone, such as being more able to “experience peace and quiet,” said Nancy Morrow-Howell, director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the University of Washington in St. Louis.

And among parents, “the vast majority felt closer to their children,” said Richard Weisbord, professor of human development and psychology at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. “One of the questions: will the fathers get back to normal here on the first train … or are they going to maintain some of this time and some of this closeness?”



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