American Time Use Survey (ATUS): Arts Activities, [United States], 2003-2021 (ICPSR 36268)
Version Date: Jul 25, 2023 View help for published
Version V7 (see more versions)
Alternate Title View help for Alternate Title
Summary View help for Summary
The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) is the Nation's first federally administered, continuous survey on time use in the United States. This multi-year data collection contains information on the amount of time (in minutes) that people spent doing various activities on a given day, including the arts activities, in the years 2003 through 2021.
Data collection for the ATUS began in January 2003. Sample cases for the survey are selected monthly, and interviews are conducted continuously throughout the year. In 2021, approximately 9,000 individuals were interviewed. Estimates are released annually. ATUS sample households are chosen from the households that completed their eighth (final) interview for the Current Population Survey (CPS), the nation's monthly household labor force survey. ATUS sample households are selected to ensure that estimates will be nationally representative. One individual age 15 or over is randomly chosen from each sampled household. This "designated person" is interviewed by telephone once about his or her activities on the day before the interview--the "diary day."
The ATUS Activity Coding Lexicon is a 3-tiered classification system with 17 first-tier categories. Each of the first-tier categories has two additional levels of detail. Respondents' reported activities are assigned 6-digit activity codes based on this classification system.
Additionally, the study provides demographic information--including sex, age, ethnicity, race, education, employment, and children in the household.
IMPORTANT: The 2020 ATUS was greatly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Data collection was suspended in 2020 from mid-March to mid-May. ATUS data files for 2020 contain all ATUS data collected in 2020--both before and after data collection was suspended. For more information, please visit BLS's ATUS page.
The weighting method changed in 2020 to account for the suspension of data collection in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents from 2020 will have missing values for the replicate weights on this data file. The Pandemic Replicate weights file for 2019-20 contains 160 replicate final weights for each ATUS final weight created using the 2020 weighting method. Chapter 7 of the ATUS User's Guide provides more information about the 2020 weighting method.
Citation View help for Citation
Subject Terms View help for Subject Terms
Geographic Coverage View help for Geographic Coverage
Distributor(s) View help for Distributor(s)
Time Period(s) View help for Time Period(s)
Date of Collection View help for Date of Collection
Data Collection Notes View help for Data Collection Notes
The survey is sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau who collects and processes the data.
NADAC also includes unpublished ATUS summary tables produced by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. These tables provide data for years 2010-2014 and for years 2011-2015. The tables show numbers of Americans participating on any given day and average time spent on an activity. The 2010-2014 summary tables contain both national and state level data. The 2011-2015 tables contain national data only.
Users can find statistics for arts-related activities in the Tier 1 categories "Socializing, Relaxing and Leisure" and "Sports, Exercise, and Recreation."
Before analyzing the data, users are strongly encouraged to refer to the ATUS 2003-2021 User Guide (produced by the Census Bureau), which contains detailed explanations regarding study design, sampling frame used, data coding and editing, weights, and response rates.
Although some demographic variables are updated during the ATUS interview, most of this information comes from earlier CPS interviews, as the ATUS sample is drawn from a subset of households that have completed month 8 of the CPS.
The activity code variables for this data collection are preceded by the letter "T" and include a six-digit activity classification code. Activity classification codes and examples can be found in the 2003-2021 ATUS Activity Lexicon section in the ATUS 2003-2021 User Guide. The first two digits represent the Tier 1 category, the middle two digits represent the Tier 2 category, and the final two digits represent the unique, specific activity within those categories.
While attempts have been made to collect the most accurate data possible, the ATUS data do have limitations. With the exception of childcare, information on secondary activities (activities that are done at the same time as the primary activity) is not collected. This could lead to underestimates of the amount of time people spend doing activities that are frequently done in combination with other activities. For example, ATUS estimates likely underestimate the amount of time people spend listening to music since so many people listen to music while doing other things.
Survey estimates are subject to non-sampling errors that may arise from many different sources, such as an inability to obtain information from all individuals in the sample, data entry errors, coding errors, and misinterpretation of definitions. Errors also could occur if non-response is correlated with time use. Non-sampling errors were not measured. However, the Census Bureau uses quality-assurance procedures to minimize non-sampling, data entry, and coding errors in the survey estimates. Please refer to Chapters 7 and 10 of the ATUS 2003-2021 User Guide for further details.Please see the Bureau of Labor Statistic's website for more information regarding the American Time Use Survey.
Some study-level documentation files feature older study time frames; ICPSR will continue to make older documentation files available if newer versions have not been supplied.
Study Purpose View help for Study Purpose
The primary purpose of this data collection is to develop nationally representative estimates (in minutes) of how people spend their time on any given day.
Study Design View help for Study Design
Between the years 2003-2021 228,455 respondents completed the ATUS survey. The survey results are based on computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) with a representative sample of residents living in households in the United States that are at least 15 years of age, with the exception of active military personnel and people residing in institutions such as nursing homes and prisons.
For additional details on the study design please refer to chapter 3 within the User Guide sub-section portion of the larger ATUS 2003-2021 User Guide document.
Sample View help for Sample
The sample for this data collection was drawn from households that had completed their final month of interviews for the Current Population Survey (CPS). The ATUS utilizes a stratified three-stage sampling approach. The first stage is at the state level so that the sample is in the same proportion as to the proportion of the population of that state compared to the population of the country. The second stage of the sample is selection at the household level stratified by key demographics. The third stage is selection of the respondent within the household.
Time Method View help for Time Method
Universe View help for Universe
All residents living in households in the United States that are at least 15 years of age, with the exception of active military personnel and people residing in institutions such as nursing homes and prisons.
Unit(s) of Observation View help for Unit(s) of Observation
Data Type(s) View help for Data Type(s)
Mode of Data Collection View help for Mode of Data Collection
Description of Variables View help for Description of Variables
Variables for this data collection provide information about the amount of time (in minutes) people spend doing various activities for any given 24-hour period. The period in question is from 4:00 am the day preceding the interview up through 4:00 am the day of the interview. Activities are classified into 18 Tier 1 categories which include:
- Personal care
- Household activities
- Caring for and helping household members
- Caring for and helping non-household members
- Work and work related activites
- Consumer purchases
- Professional and personal care services
- Household services
- Government services and civic obligations
- Eating and drinking
- Socializing, relaxing, and leisure
- Sports, exercise, and recreation
- Religious and spiritual activities
- Volunteer activities
- Telephone calls
- Unable to classify
There are a total of 424 unique activity codes in Dataset 1 and listed in the ATUS Activity Lexicon 2003-2021 portion of the User Guide document. Dataset 1 also contains additional demographic variables such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, employment, and children in the household. Additionally, there are variables that designate what day of the week the interview took place on and whether or not that day was a holiday.
Response Rates View help for Response Rates
In 2020, data collection and response rates for the ATUS were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Response to the ATUS was directly impacted by the suspension of ATUS data collection and mail-out operations in mid-March until mid-May 2020. See Section 9.2.1 for more detailed information about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ATUS.
For additional information on how response rates were calculated please refer to section 3.6 within the User Guide sub-section portion of the larger ATUS 2003-2021 User Guide document.Hide
Original Release Date View help for Original Release Date
Version History View help for Version History
2023-07-25 Updated to include 2020 and 2021 data. A pandemic replicate weights dataset was also added.
2022-04-07 Updated to include 2019 data.
2020-05-20 Updated to include 2018 data, as well as adding online analysis.
2019-05-01 Data through 2017 were added to the data collection.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. Bureau of Labor Statistics. American Time Use Survey (ATUS): Arts Activities, [United States], 2003-2021. ICPSR36268-v7. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2023-07-25. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36268.v7
An infographic on TV watching for 2015 was added.
The 2010-2014 summary tables file was updated to create two files that include state-level summary tables. One file includes summary tables that provide percentages of time that the population spent doing selected activities and percentages of the population that did them. The second 2010-2014 summary tables file covers numbers of persons and average hours per day spent on each activity.
2016-10-20 Data for 2015 and unpublished ATUS summary tables for 2011-2015 (produced by the BLS) were added to the data collection.
2016-03-10 Unpublished ATUS summary tables produced by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics have been added to the data collection.
2015-09-08 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:
- Performed consistency checks.
- Created variable labels and/or value labels.
- Created online analysis version with question text.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Weight View help for Weight
The data contain the weight variables TUFNWGTP and TU20FWGT. TUFNWGTP was created using the 2006 weighting method and is available for all years. Users need to apply weights when computing estimates with the ATUS data because simple tabulations of unweighted ATUS data produce misleading results. The weighting variable in 2020 is called TU20FWGT. For information about TU20FWGT and the other weighting variables, see Chapter 7 of the ATUS User's Guide.
The ATUS final weight(s) add up to the total number of person-days (not persons) in the population. Thus the sum of the weights for an annual file would add up to 365 days times the United States (civilian non-institutional) population aged 15 and older.
This study also contains a separate Replicate Weights File which contains the replicate weights for variable TUFNWGTP. These weights were created using the 2006 weighting method. The data file contains one record for each respondent to the ATUS. These replicate weights are necessary for constructing standard error estimates. To use these weights, merge the Replicate Weights File to the Activity Summary File using the ID variable TUCASEID.
For additional information on weighting please refer to chapter 7 within the User Guide sub-section portion of the larger ATUS 2003-2021 User Guide document.Hide
The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.