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American Time Use Survey (ATUS), 2003-2008, Multi-Year Data (ICPSR 24943) RSS

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The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) collects information on how people living in the United States spend their time. This multi-year dataset contains data on the amount of time that people spent doing various activities in the years 2003 through 2008, such as paid work, child care, religious activities, volunteering, and socializing. Part 1, Respondent and Activity Summary File, contains demographic information about respondents and a summary of the total amount of time they spent doing each activity that day. Part 2, Roster File, contains information about household members and nonhousehold children under the age of 18. Part 3, Activity File, includes additional information on activities in which respondents participated, including the location of each activity and the total time spent on secondary child care. Part 4, Who File, includes data on who was present during each activity. Part 5, ATUS-CPS File, contains demographic and occupational data on respondents and members of their household collected during their participation in the Current Population Survey (CPS). Demographic variables include sex, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, education level, income, employment status, occupation, citizenship status, country of origin, labor union membership, and household composition.

Series: American Time Use Survey (ATUS) Series

Access Notes

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DS0:  Study-Level Files

Study Description


United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. American Time Use Survey (ATUS), 2003-2008, Multi-Year Data. ICPSR24943-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-01-04. doi:10.3886/ICPSR24943.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   child care, domestic responsibilities, eating habits, employment, family life, family work relationship, housework, leisure, lifestyles, quality of life, recreation, social interaction, social life, time utilization, work, working hours

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 2003--2008

Date of Collection:  

  • 2003--2008

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   All residents aged 15 and over who were living in households in the United States, with the exception of active military personnel and people residing in institutions such as nursing homes and prisons.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data available for download are not weighted and users will need to weight the data prior to analysis.

The data file in Part 1 contains the linked Respondent and Activity Summary files. The CASEID variable was added for use with online analysis.

Multi-year files were not available for the Call History, Case History, Trips and Replicate Weights files. Please refer to the 2003-08 ATUS Data Dictionary for information about differences between the multi-year and single-year ATUS files.

The activity code variables in Part 1 are preceded by the letter "T" and include a six-digit activity classification code. Since activity codes changed somewhat between 2003 and 2008, the multi-year data files use activity codes that appear in the 2003-08 ATUS Activity Lexicon.

The following variables were converted from character to numeric: TUCASEID, HRHHID, HRHHID2, TEHRUSLT, TEHRUSL1, and TEHRUSL2. The formats of the variables TUBWGT and TUFNWGTP were adjusted to fit the width of the values present in this variable. Value labels for unknown codes were added in variables TURETOT, PEIO2ICD, PEFNTVTY, PEMNTVTY, and PENATVTY.

Published tables and charts showing time-use estimates for major activity categories, selected detailed activities, and selected demographic characteristics are available via the American Time Use Survey Web site.

The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) was conducted by the United States Census Bureau.


Sample:   The ATUS sample was drawn from households that had completed their final month of interviews for the Current Population Survey (CPS). Households were selected to ensure that estimates could be made across major demographic groups. One individual from each selected household was chosen to participate in the ATUS, and this person was interviewed only once about his or her time use. Please refer to the User Guide for additional information on sampling.

Weight:   The data contain weight variables that should be used in analyzing the data. Users need to apply weights when computing estimates with the ATUS data because simple tabulations of unweighted ATUS data produce misleading results. The multi-year ATUS-CPS, Respondent, and Activity Summary files contain the ATUS statistical weighting variable TUFNWGTP generated using the 2006 ATUS statistical weighting method. Researchers wishing to generate standard errors for multi-year estimates should take care to use the single-year replicate weights generated using the 2006 ATUS weighting method. For more information please refer to the ATUS User Guide.

Mode of Data Collection:   computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI)

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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