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Time Use Survey Report Released

Men and women on average spend approximately the same amount of time working, but while the majority of men's work is paid, the majority of women's work is unpaid. This is one of the findings presented in Around the Clock, a report launched today by Laila Harré, the Minister of Statistics and Women's Affairs.

The report analyses how New Zealanders spend their time, drawing on information from New Zealand's first national Time Use Survey, conducted in 1998/99. The survey was undertaken by Statistics New Zealand with funding from the Ministry of Women's Affairs. Although results of the survey have been available previously, this report presents data from the survey in the form of easy-to-understand graphs and commentary aimed at a wider audience. In particular, it focusses on the relationship between paid and unpaid work.

Around the Clock reveals that both males and females aged 12 and over work an average of seven hours a day or 49 hours a week. However, while approximately 60 percent of men's work is paid, almost 70 percent of women's work is unpaid. Unpaid work includes household work, caregiving, purchasing goods and services for households, and voluntary work outside the home. Women spend more time than men on all of these activities, averaging 4.8 hours of unpaid work each day, compared with men's 2.8 hours.

Household work is the most common type of unpaid work. In this category, the most time-consuming activities are food and drink preparation and clean-up, and indoor cleaning and laundry. Women spend an average of 62 minutes a day on food and drink preparation and clean-up, and 61 minutes a day on cleaning and laundry, compared with men's 29 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively.

Around the Clock shows that the time New Zealanders put into unpaid work over the course of a year equates to 2 million full-time (40 hours a week) jobs. This compares with 1.7 million full-time jobs in time spent on labour force activity.

Labour force activity, when averaged over all people aged 12 and over, takes up 29 hours a week for males and 16 hours for females. For both men and women, the longest hours are worked between the ages of 45 and 54, when men spend an average of 47 hours a week on labour force activity and women spend 33 hours a week.

Mäori on average spend less time than non-Mäori on paid work, but spend more time on unpaid work. Mäori females aged 12 and over average five hours of unpaid work each day, compared with 4.7 hours for non-Mäori females. Mä ori males average 3.1 hours of unpaid work compared with 2.8 hours for non-Mäori males. This reflects the fact that Mäori spend more time than non-Mäori on caregiving within the household and on caring for or helping non-household members.

The report also presents new information on how people spend their time when they are not working. A large part of this time is taken up with personal care, including personal hygiene and grooming, sleeping, eating and drinking. On average, people spend 10.8 hours a day on these activities, including 8.5 hours sleeping, 1.5 hours eating and drinking and 46 minutes on personal hygiene and grooming.

Among free-time activities, watching television and videos is the most popular pursuit, taking up just under two hours a day as the main activity, and another 48 minutes when people are simultaneously engaged in other tasks, such as household work or caregiving. People in the youngest and oldest age groups spend the most time watching television or videos.

Socialising and conversation is another important activity, taking up an average of 2.5 hours a day, although for more than half that time people are simultaneously engaged in other activities.

The more physically active free-time activities take up less time on average, with organised sport and exercise taking up eight minutes a day and 13 minutes a day, respectively. Interestingly, time spent on organised sport is greatest amongst those aged 65 and over (an average of 1.5 hours a week), reflecting the importance of social sports, such as bowls and golf, in the lives of retired people.

Around the Clock presents and analyses a wealth of valuable information on the use of both work and leisure time, and how this varies for different sections of the population, male and female, young and old, Mäori and non-M äori. This information represents an important advance in our understanding of the diverse patterns of people's lives and should help inform policy development in a number of areas. The report is priced at $25.00 and can be ordered via email from Statistics New Zealand at publications@stats.govt.nz or by visiting www.stats.govt.nz

Brian Pink GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

END


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