Who Americans Spend Their Time With
Throughout history, humans have relied on cooperation and social relationships to thrive. Of course, who we spend time with evolves throughout our lifetime.
Using insights from the American Time Use Survey and Our World in Data, we look at who Americans spend the most time with at various ages of their life.
Adolescence to Adulthood
In the average American’s teenage years, they spend most of their time alone and with their family. This makes sense, as the majority of people under 18 still live in a home with their nuclear family unit, meaning parents and siblings. Not surprisingly, adolescence is also when time spent with friends reaches its peak.
Jumping forward to a person’s early adulthood, 25-year-olds spend an average of 275 minutes per day alone, and 199 minutes with coworkers. This aligns with people in their twenties beginning to enter the workforce.
By age 35, people are still spending the most time with themselves, at 263 minutes per day. However, time spent combined with children and partners, the runner-ups, adds up to 450 minutes or around 7.5 hours a day.
|Age||Most Time Spent||Second||Third|
|15||Family - 267 Minutes||Alone - 193 Minutes||Friends - 109 Minutes|
|25||Alone - 275 Minutes||Coworkers - 199 Minutes||Partner - 121 Minutes|
|35||Alone - 263 Minutes||Children - 249 Minutes||Partner - 198 Minutes|
Although people are spending more time with kids and partners as they grow older, this trend may shift, as women are having fewer children. More women today are obtaining an education and are entering the workforce, causing them to delay or entirely put off having children.
Middle to Old Age
Upon turning 45, the average person spends 309 minutes a day alone, and in second place, 199 minutes with children. Time with coworkers remains relatively steady throughout someone’s forties, which coincides with the middle of career for most people in the workforce.
By age 55, time spent alone still takes top spot, but time spent with a partner goes up to 184 minutes, and time with coworkers also moves up, pushing out time spent with children.
|Age||Most Time Spent||Second||Third|
|45||Alone - 309 Minutes||Children - 199 Minutes||Partner - 184 Minutes|
|55||Alone - 384 Minutes||Partner - 184 Minutes||Coworkers - 163 Minutes|
|65||Alone - 444 Minutes||Partner - 243 Minutes||Family - 65 Minutes|
|75||Alone - 463 Minutes||Partner - 253 Minutes||Family - 56 Minutes|
Typically, time spent with children during the mid-fifties tends to see a sharp decline as children enter adulthood and begin to move out or spend more time out of the house.
Today, more children are staying at home longer or even moving back home. 52% of adult children in the U.S. today are living with their parents.
As people get closer to old age, around 65-years-old, they spend increasingly less time with coworkers as they begin to retire, and much more time alone or with a spouse. Then, from age 65-75, people consistently spend the most time alone, then with a partner and family.
Alone and Lonely?
One of the most significant trends on the chart is increased time spent alone.
By the time someone reaches 80, their daily minutes alone goes up to 477. This can be a problematic reality. As the population continues to age in many countries around the world, more elderly people are left without resources or social connection.
Additionally, while one quarter of elderly Americans live alone, the trend of solo living is going up across nearly every age group, and this trend applies to a number of mature economies around the world.
A natural conclusion would be that increasing alone time has negative impacts on people, however, being alone does not necessarily equate to loneliness. Our World in Data found that there was no direct correlation between living alone and reported feelings of loneliness.
One final consideration is the role technology plays in our social interactions. Thanks to smartphones and social platforms, time alone doesn’t necessarily equal isolation.
It is not just the amount of time spent with others, but the quality and expectations, that reduce loneliness.
The Venezuela–Guyana Dispute Explained in 3 Maps
In this series of maps, we explain the dispute that has spanned nearly two centuries over the vast Essequibo region.
In a territorial dispute spanning nearly two centuries, tensions between Guyana and Venezuela have once again reached a boiling point. The focal point of this dispute is the vast Essequibo region which encompasses around 70% of Guyana’s territory, and is roughly equivalent to the size of Florida.
Venezuela claims historical rights dating back to the Spanish colonial period when Essequibo fell within its boundaries. In 1840, the British government drew the Schomburgk Line expanding the territory of British Guiana (now Guyana) far beyond the occupied area and to the strategically-located mouth of the Orinoco River.
This line played a pivotal role in shaping the modern borders of the region by defining the territory claimed by the UK, and later, a decolonized Guyana, as the country gained independence in 1966. That same year, Venezuela and the UK signed an agreement aiming for a negotiated solution.
In 2004, President Hugo Chávez eased border tensions under the advice of Fidel Castro, stating that he considered the dispute to be finished.
Recent events, however, have reignited the dispute. Between 2015 and 2021, Guyana announced the discovery of about 8 billion barrels of oil, elevating a country with fewer than a million people to a prominent position among the top nations in terms of oil reserves. ExxonMobil, leading a consortium, operates three offshore projects in the country, earning nearly $6 billion in 2022 alone.
Venezuela’s Referendum and New Map
On December 1, 2023, the World Court ordered Venezuela to refrain from actions in the border dispute with Guyana. However, just two days later, on December 3, Venezuelans approved a referendum claiming sovereignty over Essequibo.
President Maduro subsequently ordered the creation of a new state, Guayana Esequiba, within Venezuela’s borders, and released a new map of the country.
Venezuela’s new territorial claims don’t stop on land, they extend far out into sea as well. Specifically, Venezuela is claiming a critical area called the Stabroek Oil Block, where ExxonMobil and others are already active.
With a population of around 125,000 people, the disputed region is full of dense rainforest, making a military incursion from Venezuela feasible only by sea or through the Brazilian state of Roraima. Brazil, maintaining good diplomatic relationships with both countries, has already increased military personnel on the border. The U.S. announced joint military flight drills in Guyana on December 7.
Despite increased military presence in the region, many experts believe that President Maduro has no intention of actually annexing Essequibo, and that this recent claim is a tactic to bolster his own image within Venezuela.
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