American Time Use Survey (ATUS), 2009 (ICPSR 30902)

Published: Nov 2, 2012

Principal Investigator(s):
United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census; United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Version V1

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 2009, 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. Part 1, 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 2, Call History File, gives information about each call attempt. Part 3, Case History File, contains information about the interview process. Part 4, ATUS-CPS 2009 File, contains demographic and occupational data on respondents and members of their household collected during their participation in the Current Population Survey (CPS). Part 5, Respondent File, contains demographic information about respondents. Part 6, Roster File, contains information about household members and non-household children under the age of 18. Part 7, Activity Summary File, contains a summary of the total amount of time they spent doing each activity that day. Part 8, 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. Part 9, ATUS 2009 Replicate Weights File, contains base weights, replicate base weights, and replicate final weights for each case that was selected to be interviewed for the ATUS. Part 10, Who File, includes data on who was present during each activity. Demographic variables include sex, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, education level, income, employment status, occupation, citizenship status, country of origin, labor union membership of household members, and household composition.

United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census, and United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. American Time Use Survey (ATUS), 2009. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-11-02.

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

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

The data available for download are not weighted and users will need to weight the data prior to analysis. For more information about ATUS weights, why researchers should use them, and details about how ATUS weighting methods have changed, please refer to the Original P.I. Documentation section of the ICPSR Codebook.

The activity code variables in Part 7 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 Original P.I. Documentation section of the ICPSR Codebook.

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 Original P.I. Documentation section of the ICPSR Codebook for additional information on sampling.

All residents aged 15 and over 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 56.6 percent.



2012-11-02 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:

  • 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 Parts 5 and 7 contain the ATUS final weight TUFINLWGT. No statistical weights have been generated for the Trips data file in part 8. Part 9 contains 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.. More information on the weight variables used in this study can be found in the Original P.I. Documentation section of the ICPSR Codebook.


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

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