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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Comparison of the four types of time
In 1997, Australians spent an average of 46% of their time on necessary time activities, 22% on free time activities, 16% on committed time activities and 15% on contracted time activities. The time spent by men and women was similar for necessary time activities and free time activities. Men spent almost twice as much time, on average, as women on contracted time activities (19% compared with 11%), while women spent nearly twice as much time as men on committed time activities (21% compared with 12%) (table 1).
At the broad level of people's time use, there has been little change between 1992 and 1997. Changes observed in the figures for necessary and free time are mainly due to changes in coding (see discussion of socialising on pages 10-11 of the publication). Some changes are apparent when examining individual categories of time use and when comparing different people within categories.
Men and women spend their day in different ways. On an average day in 1997, men spent 20% of their day on recreation and leisure, 18% in employment related activities and 7% on domestic work, while women spent 18% of their day on recreation and leisure, 13% on domestic work, 9% on employment related and 3% on child care (table 1).
Necessary time is the time devoted to personal care activities such as sleeping, eating and personal hygiene. Both men and women spent, on average, about half of their day on personal care activities (46% and 47% respectively) in 1997 (table 9). More time was spent on personal care activities compared with 1992. There was an increase in the amount of time spent sleeping (17 minutes or 3%) (table 1). There was also an increase of 28 minutes per day in the amount of time spent eating and drinking between 1992 and 1997, but this is due to coding changes (see discussion of socialising on pages 10-11 of the full publication).
Overall, 53% of households purchased at least one meal at a restaurant in the two weeks prior to the survey, while 57% purchased at least one takeaway meal. Of households containing couples with non-dependent children, 63% had purchased at least one meal at a restaurant compared with 47% of lone parents. Of households containing couples with dependent children, 76% had bought at least one takeaway meal compared with only 40% of lone persons. Those who spent time eating and drinking in commercial venues spent an average 66 minutes per day in these locations and couples with dependent children were most likely to spend time eating in these locations (see table below).
HOUSEHOLDS PURCHASING MEALS AND TIME SPENT IN COMMERCIAL VENUES
Employment related activities
The time spent by employed persons on employment related activities in 1997 was similar to the time spent on these activities in 1992. The time spent working in their main job increased by 10 minutes a day while time spent in other jobs decreased by 30 minutes (table 2). In 1997, men in the 35-44 years age group spent the most time on employment related activities, at around 9 hours a day, while men aged age 65 years and over who were in paid work spent 5 hours and 45 minutes per day on these activities. Women in the 25-34 and 45-54 year age groups, who were in paid work, spent around 7 hours and 30 minutes on employment related activities, and women aged 65 years and over spent 4 hours and 25 minutes on these activities (table 30).
Time spent by students on educational activities decreased by 12 minutes (4%) between 1992 and 1997. However, female students increased their time by 16 minutes while male students reduced their time by 40 minutes. Time spent on homework and study increased for both men and women by 5 and 23 minutes respectively (table 2). The overall time spent on educational activities was similar for men and women. However, the time spent by the different age groups differed, especially in the 45-54 age group, with men spending 2 hours and 30 minutes more on these activities than women in 1997 (table 30).
The overall time spent on all child care activities did not change over the 5 years. However, less time was given to direct care of children (16 minutes less) but more to all other child care activities, especially for playing, reading and talking, which increased by 11 minutes. The participation rate for the care of children and for playing, reading and talking declined almost 3 percentage points between 1992 and 1997. Women continued to do most of the direct care, with men spending more time in other areas such as teaching and playing with children (tables 2 and 3). Men and women spent more time in 1997 playing with children, especially on weekends (20 minutes more per day for men and 11 minutes more for women) than in 1992. Men also spent more time on teaching and helping their children (8 minutes more on weekdays, 18 minutes more on weekend days) than in 1992 (table 7).
On average, 4 out of every 5 minutes spent on passive leisure involved audio visual media. Television viewing and listening to the radio/CDs accounted for over 90% of this (table 20). Most television viewing occurred between 6 pm and 10 pm. Peak viewing times were 8 pm for 15-24 year olds and those aged 60 years and over, and 9 pm for those aged 25-59 years. A relatively high proportion of persons aged 60 years and over watched television during the afternoon (table 24).
Proportion of people who watched Television, Age Groups
1 MAIN ACTIVITIES(a), ALL PERSONS
(b) Any differences between the 1992 data in this table and the data
published in How Australians Use Their Time, 1992 (Cat. no. 4153.0) are due to changes to the classification and minor amendments to the data file.
(c) Differences between the 1992 and 1997 data are partly due to coding changes rather than actual changes in time use.
(d) Differences between the 1992 and 1997 data are mainly due to coding changes rather than actual changes in time use. See section on Socialising, pp. 10-11 in the publication.
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