Australians smarter, working harder, but less healthy

Australians are spending less time playing, sleeping, eating and drinking and are working longer, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on how Australians use their time.

And there has been a huge leap in the time people are spending on education, with people over 15 on average spending three hours and 30 minutes a day on educational activities (15% higher than in 1997).

Time spent on recreation and leisure activities has decreased by one hour and 45 minutes a week since 1997 (to 29 hours, 31 minutes a week).

Australians are spending on average an extra hour a week on activities such as watching television and using the internet than in 1997 (16 hours 20 minutes a week).

However time spent on sport and outdoor activity has decreased by nearly one hour compared to an average week in 1997. The average time people spend on getting fit, playing sport and outdoor activity is now 2 hours, 13 minutes a week.

Men and women spent a similar amount of time on both paid and unpaid work, although women work harder than men putting in almost 53 hours a week compared to men’s 52 hours. This is around two hours more a week than in 1997.

Men continue to spend much less time on unpaid work, just 20 hours four minutes a week, than did women (36 hours 31 minutes).

While men have not increased their contribution to unpaid work at all since 1997, women have decreased the time they spend on domestic duties by one hour a week.

Men spent almost 32 hours a week on paid work (up 5% on 1997) compared to women who spend 16 hours 27 minutes (up 7% on 1997).

When it comes to voluntary work men are spending 15 minutes a day on care activities and volunteering compared to women (24 minutes).

How men and women spend their day:


  • Recreation 19%
  • Employment 19%
  • Domestic activities 7%


  • Recreation/leisure 16%
  • Employment 10%
  • Domestic activities 12%


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