Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, conducted annually since 2003. In ATUS, respondents report how they have used their time over the course of a 24-hour day – not just work time, but the amount of sleep, meal time, and many other activities. We get a surprisingly comprehensive picture of the differences in the daily routines for prime-age men who are employed, those who are unemployed, and those neither with jobs nor seeking work.
WHAT DO MEN WITHOUTWORK DO ALL DAY?
Free time may be a luxury good in universal demand, but it does not necessarily follow that such luxury will universally be utilized in a constructive fashion by those who obtain it. There is an important difference between leisure and idleness. Bluntly stated: leisure refines and elevates, while idleness corrupts and degrades. Free time can be devoted to recreation, to reflection and self-improvement, to pursuit of knowledge, spirituality, and the arts. Free time can also be completely wasted – or expended in manifold ways that diminish both the individual and his bonds to family and community. In 2004 (according to one U.S. Census Bureau study), the fraction of men 20 to 64 years of age who reported they were not working because they were taking care of children or others was a mere 2.4% – as against nearly 39% for un-working women those same ages. Those percentages have changed slightly over the past decade, but that “care chasm” persists to this very day. These stark numbers plainly suggest that un-working men in modern America simply do not prioritize care for children or other family members. Our best aperture into what un-working men do with their time is something called the American Time Use Survey (“ATUS”), a nationwide sample survey managed by the
These stark numbers plainly suggest that un-working men in modern America simply do not
prioritize care for children or other family members.
Also we see reported time use patterns for prime-age women with jobs. Working prime- age women offer a particularly instructive comparison with un-working men because these women tend to be especially pressed by “time poverty.” In addition to their work obligations, most of these women are also raising children at home. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of employed women ages 25-54 live in a household with at least one child under the age of 18. This compares with just 37% of prime-age NILF men. Given the manifold commitments they shoulder, prime-age working women tend to
80 January 2018
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