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Homework or sleep? Study Says It Depends on When You Were Born


Mike Schneider, Associated Press

Published Sunday, January 30, 2022 4:12 PM EST

Two decades ago, when Gen Xer Amy Rottier went shopping for her young children, she went to a mall and looked for the things she needed. His millennial daughter, Helen, who is pursuing her doctorate and has no children, buys everything she needs with a single click on her iPad.

Women, whose ages are 50 and 25 respectively, reflect the pace of change from generation to generation in what people do on an average day. A study released last week by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the changes.

The study found that women in the tenth generation were more likely to do housework, take care of children, read for pleasure, and do lawn work. Millennial women were more willing to exercise, spend free time at the computer, care for their pets, and sleep.

The report uses American Time Use Survey data to map how people between the ages of 23 and 38 lived at a time. For Emmy Rotier’s generation, that was in 2003. For his daughter Helen, it was in 2019 – a year before the global coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed living patterns. The report shows changes for men as well as women.

Both generations spent the same amount of time working, and men worked longer hours than women because women were more likely to work part-time. Both generations spent roughly the same amount of time on leisure and sporting activities, but Gen Xers were more likely than millennials to have children and their own homes.

Even though television watching was the top leisure activity for both generations, millennial men spent 18 minutes less a day watching TV than their Gen X counterparts. Looks like they’ve shifted that time into playing the game. On an average day, more millennials were participating in sports, entertainment, and exercise than their Gen X peers.

According to the report, the change in technology has taken a toll on people’s choices. Social media was in its infancy in 2003, smartphones were not widespread and Cyber ​​Monday had not yet been invented by retail marketing gurus.

“An advantage of Millennials is that they were able to do a lot from the comfort of their own home, without having to sit in their car and go to a store or bank. It saves on time. For Generation X, it’s available then They weren’t when they were their age,” said Michelle Freeman, senior economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics who wrote the report. “You can’t ignore technological improvements from 2003 to 2019, and that’s certainly a factor.”

Including the decisions to have children.

“Taking care of the kids is what I was doing most of my free time,” said Amy Rotier, who has five kids with husband Eric in Madison, Wisconsin. “For me, it was free time when my husband was asking me to take a bath and he used to fight with the kids and put them on the bed.”

Helen Rottier, who lives in Chicago, who is now in her mid-20s, said the idea of ​​having children is a distant proposition.

“I’m still working on my degree, and then I want to settle into my career,” she said. “With my friends, we’re now at the same age our parents were born, and we’re not even thinking about having kids yet.”

Millennials were more likely to delay having a family than members of Generation X born between 1965 and 1980. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, were more likely to have advanced degrees and less likely to be married than Gen Xers.

Gen Xers spent more time shopping for goods, which is likely because physically visiting a brick-and-mortar store takes longer than shopping online. Millennial women spent less time reading for pleasure every day than did Generation X women. Freeman said there has been a decline in reading for all age groups over the past two decades, rising from an average of 22 minutes a day in 2003 to 16 minutes a day in 2019.

Millennials also slept 22 minutes more per day than their Gen X counterparts, which Freeman said may reflect changing attitudes about the importance of sleep.

“My parents are baby boomers and they put in a lot of work,” she said. “Sleeping a lot used to be considered lazy. We now respect the fact that more sleep is good for our health.”

According to the report, without children like their Gen X peers, Millennials spent nearly twice as much time in a day in animal and pet care activities as did Gen Xers in 2003. Then there’s the difference in time spent gardening or maintaining a yard, with millennials spending about half an hour a day less, mainly because they were less likely to have a home.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever have a house with a lawn,” said Helen Rottier. “It may be different in the future, but right now, I don’t see any appeal in the lawn. Why would I need to take care of the lawn?”

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