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How Americans Participate in After-Work Activities

How Americans Participate in After-Work Activities

Here, we explore the many after-work activities Americans participate in. Click here and learn more.

April 5th, 2023

The American quality of life is among the highest in the world. Although the United States lags behind other nations in critical areas of health and welfare, the quality of life that most Americans experience is widely respected, if not envied. American workers are diligent. Public opinion polls routinely show that Americans perceive they have less free time now than in the past, even though the amount of hours available for nonwork leisure has not changed considerably since the 1970s.

Most Americans have eight hours of free time after work and sleep. While the economy and technology have changed significantly in the last ten years, Americans’ use of their time has stayed relatively constant. But what is that time taken up? Exercising? Attending office parties? The following activities are the most popular ones among Americans when they’re not working.

Americans Enjoy the Screen Scene

According to research from the Census Bureau, watching TV is America's preferred pastime. The majority of Americans' spare time is spent watching television. According to the study, American men watch television for an average of 5.5 hours each day, compared to 4.8 hours for women.

The report also divided the time spent watching by factors including age and employment. Those 65 and older watched more than four hours of TV daily, taking up more time in their day. On the other hand, the 15–44 age group watched the least, averaging only approximately 2 hours each day.

A Need to Read

The older we get, the more inclined we are to read during leisure time. Teenagers aged 15–19 read only about 4 minutes daily, even on weekends and holidays when more time was available. Meanwhile, the oldest Americans read for more than an hour each day. However, these statistics only consider pleasure reading, which could account for students’ oddly low figures.

Caring in the Community

Just 15% of Americans spend any time on organizational, civic, or religious activities on a typical day, but those who do invest 2 hours and 15 minutes daily. Compared to men, women are more likely to devote some of their day to volunteering (17% of women engage in organizational, civic, or religious activities on a given day compared to 12% of men).

Compared to secular commitments, religious activities are slightly more prevalent (9% of Americans spent some time during an average day on religious or spiritual activities, while 7% set aside time for organizational or civic volunteering).

The Bores of Household Chores

According to the ATUS survey, Americans clean their homes for 18 minutes on average each day. Laundry takes, on average, 11 minutes per person every day. We spend 34 minutes daily cooking and tidying up after ourselves. Our daily home maintenance time averages out to 14 minutes, which includes lawn care, mowing, weeding, and fertilizing. Individuals who handle household money, including paying bills, filing taxes, etc., put in 45 minutes a day of financial wizardry.

Firing Things Up with a BBQ

If this isn't a characteristic of Americans, we don't know what is! The American people love to grill and are excellent at it! By the way, our nation enjoys grilling all year round, not just in the summer. So you may occasionally see folks outside in their winter jackets lighting up their grills despite the weather.

Getting Groovy with Dinner and a Movie

People of all ages still like going out to eat and seeing movies as leisure activities during their free time. Reports say that 73% of individuals enjoy dining out, while 58% enjoy going to the movies. Millennials were particularly fond of eating out in 2021, with 77% stating as such.

Having Fun with a Run

In the USA, running is by far the most popular outdoor activity. In 2022, more than 61 million Americans ran for recreation. This is an increase from 19.2% of all US citizens in 2021 to 20.2% of all US citizens aged 6 and above. Running is incredibly popular because, unlike many other outdoor activities, it doesn't require much specialized equipment, can be done anywhere, and isn't prohibitively expensive. Running has been the most popular outdoor activity in the States since 2010 for all these reasons, but 2022 was its best year yet.


So, there you have it, folks. This is what the average American does with their free time after work. But of course, there is no average American, as you're all great and unique!

Laura Bartlett

Laura Bartlett

Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.