This statement provides information on time-use surveys and ONS's usage of them.
Issue date: 29 September 2011
A time use survey is a statistical survey that aims to identify, classify and quantify the main types of activities that people engage in during a definitive time period. Time use surveys may require respondents to keep a time use diary say for a few days, and the survey could be run to gather information over a full year. Time use surveys provide activity sequence information (who does what, when?) and time budgets (how much of each activity?). Both sorts of evidence potentially contribute to the understanding of well-being. For example, this could be through providing measures of the time people spend doing unpaid work, caring for children or elderly relatives, volunteering etc, which is not routinely counted otherwise. There may also be value in combining time use data with information on the satisfaction that people gain from different activities.
ONS has successfully carried out time use surveys (in 2000 and 2005) and several other countries continue to do so, including a majority of EU states, Canada, Japan, China and the United States.
ONS has not committed to spending any money on running a further time use survey. ONS is investigating whether there is a demand for the data that time use surveys would provide and whether there are cost-effective ways of meeting any demand for this data.