American Time Use Survey (ATUS), 2006 (ICPSR 23024)

Version Date: Nov 13, 2008 View help for published

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United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) collects information on how people living in the United States spend their time. Data collected in this study measured the amount of time that people spent doing various activities in 2006, such as paid work, child care, religious activities, volunteering, and socializing. Respondents were interviewed only once about how they spent their time on the previous day, where they were, and whom they were with. An Eating and Health (EH) module was introduced in January 2006, which included questions related to eating, meal preparation, and health, all of which were asked after completion of the ATUS questions. Part 1, Respondent and Activity Summary File, contains demographic information about respondents and a summary of the total number of minutes 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 2006 File, contains data on respondents and members of their household collected during their participation in the Current Population Survey (CPS). Parts 6 and 7 correspond to the 2006 Eating and Health (EH) Module. Parts 8-12 contain supplemental data files that can be used for further analysis of the data. Part 8, Case History File, contains information about the interview process. Part 9, Call History File, gives information about each call attempt. Part 10, Trips File, provides information about the number, duration, and purpose of overnight trips away from home for two or more nights in a row in a given reference month. Parts 11 and 12 contain base weights, replicate base weights, and replicate final weights for each case that was selected to be interviewed for the ATUS. Demographic variables include sex, age, race, ethnicity, education level, income, employment status, occupation, citizenship status, country of origin, and household composition.

United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. American Time Use Survey (ATUS), 2006. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-11-13.

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United States Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service, United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
The data available for download are not weighted and users will need to weight the data prior to analysis. The method used to generate weights changed each year from 2003 to 2006, so users who combine multiple years of ATUS data must use weights that were generated using comparable methods. For information on weighting, linking files, combining multiple years of data, and producing time-use estimates, please refer to the User's Guide or the American Time Use Survey 2006 Web site.

The data file in Part 1 contains the linked Respondent and Activity Summary files.

The files in Parts 8-12 have not been processed by ICPSR staff and are being distributed in essentially the same form in which they were received.

The ATUS 2006 Eating and Health (EH) Module was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Health's National Cancer Institute. Files pertaining to the EH module can be found in Parts 6, 7, and 12. ATUS respondents who participated in the module were identified in the TREMODR variable in Part 1.

Variable labels and value labels were added in several variables.

The formats of the variables ERBMI, TUBWGT, TUFINLWGT, and EUFINLWGT were adjusted to fit the width of the values present in these variables, and the following variables were converted from character to numeric: TUCASEID, HRHHID, HRHHID2, TEHRUSLT, TEHRUSL1, TEHRUSL2, TEIO1ICD, TEIO1OCD, PEIO1ICD, PEIO1OCD, PEIO2ICD, and PEIO2OCD.

The CASEID variable was added to the data file in Part 1 for use with online analysis.

The activity code variables in Part 1 are preceded by the letter "T" and include a six-digit activity classification code. Activity classification codes and examples of activities can be found in the ATUS Coding Lexicon. For more information about the ATUS Coding Lexicon, please refer to the User Guide.

The Trips file in Part 10 does not contain weights and should be used with caution. More information on the Trips file can be found in the data dictionary and via the American Time Use Survey Web site. 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. Tables showing estimates from the Eating and Health Module are available from the USDA's Economic Research Service Web site.

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

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.

All residents at least 15 years of age 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.

survey data

The overall response rate was 55.1 percent.


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. American Time Use Survey (ATUS), 2006. ICPSR23024-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-11-13.

2008-11-13 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.

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 Respondent and Activity Summary data file in Part 1 contains the ATUS final weight TUFINLWGT and the ATUS base weight TUBWGT. When computing estimates using variables from the Eating and Health Module, the weight variable EUFINLWGT in Part 6 should be used instead of TUFINLWGT. More information on the weight variables used in this study can be found in the User Guide. Parts 11 and 12 contain replicate weights based on the replicate weights developed for the CPS. The CPS replicate weights are based on a modified balanced half-sample method of replication, developed in the 1980s by Robert Fay. For information about the replicate weights, see the publication, Technical Paper 66: Current Population Survey -- Design and Methodology, available via the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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