Skip to page content
Office of the Secretary
Bookmark and Share

U.S. Department of Labor Futurework
  Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century
---division bar --

The Time-Squeeze in American Families:
From Causes to Solutions

Marin Clarkberg
Cornell University

The Rise of the Time Squeeze in The U.S.

A recurrent theme in any discussion with or about working families is the issue of time, or more accurately, the lack thereof. Data from surveys like the Michigan/Maryland Time Use Surveys document the growing perception of a time famine. Between 1965 and 1992, for example, the percent of respondents saying that they “always feel rushed” increased almost 50%, such that it is now the case that more than 1 in 3 Americans say that they always feel rushed.

Figure 1: Percent of 18-64 year olds Reporting "Always Rushed" by Year [Text Version]
% of 18-64 year olds Reporting "Always Rushed"

Similarly, since 1971, the percent saying that they almost never have time on their hands with which they don’t know what to do increased more than 10 percentage points, such that more than half of Americans almost never find themselves with time to burn. Again, this trend would not surprise most dual-earner couples, and certainly not those that we’ve talked to in our interviews at Cornell.

Figure 2: Percent Reporting "Almost Never" Have Time on Hands [Text Version]
% Reporting "Almost Never" Have Time on Hands

Previous Section Next Section