Survey: Americans Increasingly Spending More Time Alone

My life is such a mess - stock photo Teenager with depression sitting alone in dark room
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Americans are spending increasingly more time alone — a trend that has remained on the rise since 2013 — according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Time Use Survey (ATUS).

The survey tracks the way Americans spend their time, whether that be working, socializing, or engaging in leisurely activities.

According to the data, the amount of time Americans have spent alone has been on the rise, even years before the Chinese coronavirus pandemic struck. In 2013, for example, Americans spent roughly six and a half hours with friends per week — a trend that decreased as the years went on, falling to four hours in 2019.

Of course, the Chinese coronavirus worsened this trend in 2020 with forced lockdowns and individuals either unable or too fearful to socialize or go to work.

As a result, in 2021, the time spent with friends per week dropped to under three hours, crashing to two hours and 45 minutes per week. This, according to the Washington Post, represents a “58 percent decline relative to 2010-2013.”

And, instead of turning to family members, Americans appear to be using this extra time — not spent with friends — alone, and this trend appears across the board. Even teenagers, for instance, are spending significantly less time with friends.

Per the Post: 

Social media, political polarization and new technologies all played a role in the drop. (It is notable that market penetration for smartphones crossed 50 percent in 2014.)

Relative to 2010-2013, the average American teenager spent approximately 11 fewer hours with friends each week in 2021 (a 64 percent decline) and 12 additional hours alone (a 48 percent increase).

Data from the ATUS finds that Americans spend 9.7 hours per day on “personal care, including sleep,” followed by 5.27 hours of leisure and sports, and 3.5 hours of working and work-related activities. 

The survey found that Americans send .47 hours a day “caring for and helping household members” and .18 hours  “caring for and helping nonhousehold members.”

The increase in alone time, while on the rise prior to the pandemic, could have something to do with the reality of more Americans being able to work from home. According to the ATUS, 38 percent of working Americans “did some or all of their work at home on days they worked, and 68 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at their workplace” in 2021, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The findings also coincide with the reported rise in mental health issues, as admitted by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), which pointed to mass lockdowns.

As Breitbart News reported:

In a report published on Friday, the World Health Organization claimed that anxiety and depression rose globally by a staggering 25 per cent in the first year of Chinese coronavirus lockdowns, alone. As a result, the report estimated that over one billion people worldwide are now suffering from mental health issues.

“Restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic for example had significant mental health consequences for many, including stress, anxiety or depression stemming from social isolation, disconnectedness and uncertainty about the future,” the W.H.O. stated.

School counselors have also reported that students are experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression, which could very well have something to do with the dramatic rise of alone time in America over the past decade, magnified by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.


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