Time Use in India

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How Indians spent their time in activities


Indians sleep for about 9 hours a day, finds NSO, October 5, 2020: The Times of India

How much time do Indians spend sleeping, eating, drinking, engaging in personal hygiene, and in religious and social activities?

A first-of-its-kind survey answers these questions on how people spend their time in a typical 24-hour day. The aim is to assess the time spent on paid and unpaid activities in rural and urban areas and results may provide key inputs for policymaking, reports Surojit Gupta.

In rural areas, males 6 years and above spent an average of 554 minutes (9.2 hours) in sleep and “related activities”, the survey showed, while females spent a tad extra at 557 minutes.

‘Men spend more time than women in eating’

However, the proportion of time spent on similar activities in urban areas is marginally less — where males spent 534 minutes in sleep and related activities and females 552 minutes, closer to their rural counterparts.

The survey also showed that when it comes to eating and drinking, males in rural areas spent about 10 minutes more than an average female — 103 minutes and 94 minutes respectively. Men in cities too averaged higher than women in this category — 101 minutes for males and 97 minutes for females.

The Time Use Survey (TUS) is the first of its kind assessment conducted by the National Statistical office (NSO). It was undertaken between January and December of 2019. The survey was spread over 5,947 villages and 3,998 urban blocks and covered 138,799 households (rural: 82,897 and urban: 55,902). According to the NSO, information on time use was collected from each member of 6 years and above of the selected households. A total of 447,250 persons (rural: 273,195 and urban 174,055) were surveyed. It covered the entire country except the villages in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are difficult to access, according to the NSO.

The survey has measured participation and time spent by people in paid activities, unpaid caregiving activities, unpaid volunteer work, unpaid domestic service producing activities, learning, socializing, leisure and selfcare activities among others.

The results show that women spent more time for unpaid domestic services for household members. In rural areas, it was estimated at 301 minutes for females while it was 98 minutes for males. In urban areas, females on an average spent 293 minutes while males put in 94 minutes. The average time spent in a day per participant for culture, mass media and sports practices across the country was 165 minutes. In rural areas, males spent on an average 162 minutes while females spent 157 minutes. In urban areas, it was 171minutes for males and 181 for females.

The average time spent per participant 6 years and above in socializing and communication, community participation and religious practice was estimated at 143 minutes at the national level. In rural areas, males spent 151 minutes on such activities while females spent 139 minutes. Overall, both males and females spent 138 minutes on such activities.

When it comes to unpaid caregiving for household members, females spent 132 minutes in rural areas on such activity while males spent 77 minutes and in urban areas it was 138 minutes for females and 75 minutes for males. The average time spent in a day per participant at the national level was 114 minutes, the survey showed.


Ambika Pandit, October 17, 2020: The Times of India

Time use in India, according to gender and location (urban/ rural), as in 2019.
From: Ambika Pandit, October 17, 2020: The Times of India

The percentage of boys and girls in the 6-14 age group that is engaged in learning activities is a high 86% and 85.6% respectively, but this changes in the 15-29 age bracket as engagement of both sexes decline, with the female proportion dropping even steeper, the first ‘Time Use’ survey in India released a fortnight ago said.

The survey released by the ministry of statistics shows that in the 15-29 age group, while on an average 32.9% of males were involved in learning activities, the percentage for females was just about 25.4%. This percentage accounts for urban and rural together.

The difference becomes even starker in comparing rural and urban areas. In rural areas the survey found 31.2% of males were engaged in learning activities. The statistic for females was 22.6%. Comparable statistics for urban India are 36.6% and 32%.

Average time spent by males (urban and rural) in a day participating in learning activities was calculated at 431 minutes for 6-14 years and 433 minutes for the 15-29 bracket. In the case of females the time was 43 minutes (6-14 years) and 425 minutes (15-29 years).

Information on time use was collected covering a period of 24 hours starting from 4am on the day before the date of interview to 4am on the day of interview. Distribution of total time of 1,440 minutes of a day per person in different activities has been derived.

The survey cites a wide definition of learning activities that include pre-primary, primary, secondary, technical and vocational, post-secondary and tertiary education. It also covers nonformal education and courses (literacy and other special programmes for those who have no opportunity to attend school; private studies; research; courses taken in relation to hobbies and recreational games; sports; courses on yoga; etc) and travel time related to learning.

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