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CS 171 Final Project

Yuqi Hou, Maria Lai, Tuongvan Le

Spring 2016

American Time Use: Who Spends How Long at What


We are interested in exploring how an average American spends their time, how much do they spend on each activity, which activities take up the most time, and whether the time use across different categories of activities differs among demographic groups based on gender, age, employment status, and family income. We also explore how time use differs across various states in the US and the differences in time distributions across activities between female and male within each state. Our visualizations start with a broad view of how 1000 people in the US spend their time in a day, describing the movement from one activities to another, calculating the concentration of people within each activity, and depicting the ranking of the activities based on current time. The next visualization focuses on portraying the flow of activities and the frequency of each transition. “Across the US” visualization highlights average time spent on different categories of activities of people from different states across the US. Upon clicking on each state, one can also view the distributions of time spent in a specific category of activity for females and males in each state. The last visualization focuses on describing the differences in time use of various demographics based on age, gender, family income, and race.


Our data is derived from American Time Use Survey (ATUS) database, sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and conducted by the US Census Bureau, tracking the amount of time people spend doing various activities such as sleeping, volunteering, travelling, working, playing sports. The data is huge, consisting of data from 2003 to 2014. To avoid the burden of analyzing such a huge database, we decide to pick data from 2014. The survey was conducted by randomly selecting individuals from a subset of households. Subjects are interviewed only once about how they spent their time on the previous day. Demographic information on the subjects (age, sex, race, zip code of location, gender, etc…) was also collected.


  • Explore how groups of various demographics based on age, employment, gender, income level spend time differently
  • Gain Insights into the time distribution of various activities a typical/average American spends doing
  • Visualize and compare duration and movements/transitions of activities throughout the day of various groups
  • Map out and compare spending habits of people across different states in the US


  • Site based on Start Bootstrap. Start Bootstrap was created by and is maintained by David Miller
  • for inspirations and source code for animated clock and hourglass on the front page
  • Thanks to Nathan Jau for dataset and inspiration for our data visualization
  • Libraries used: Underscore Library, JQuery, Bootstrap, Jekyll, Google Fonts, d3.js, d3.tip, PykCharts.js, Queue.js, Colorbrewer, d3-legend by Susie Lu, Mike Bostock
  • Other sources: for visualization ideas

###Website Screencast video is also included on our website above and on YouTube


Visualizing American Time Use Data with D3.js




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