Gender convergence in the American Heritage Time Use Study (AHTUS)

Publication type

ISER Working Paper Series

Series Number



ISER Working Paper Series


Publication date

May 1, 2006


This paper compares changes in the daily activities of women and men in the United States from 1965 through 2003 as an example of the potential use of the American Heritage Time Use Study (AHTUS) dataset, a newly created resource. The AHTUS project has coded time use diaries into a format that allows researchers to compare the daily activity patterns of a national sample of people in the USA around the middle of each of the last five decades. In the time diaries, people recorded their activities in their own words, and also wrote down what time of day they changed activity, what else they were doing at the same time if they did more than one activity simultaneously, who else was present, and where they were. This paper explains how the authors co-ordinated the information from each year into a directly comparable dataset, then examines the general patterns of paid work, unpaid domestic work, personal care and free time of women and men. We find that men's behaviour has changed very slightly, with men performing slightly more domestic work as the decades have advanced. Women in the USA are now tending to perform more paid work and less unpaid domestic work, and women's daily patterns are becoming more similar to the patterns of men, though significant gender gaps remain.



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