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Females do more unpaid work, males do more paid work

People in Australia spent an average of three and a half hours a day on unpaid work activities during 2020-2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Time Use Survey published today.

Unpaid work includes domestic duties like housework, food and drink preparation and shopping, as well as child care, adult care and volunteering activities.

Lisa Scanlon, Director of Social Surveys and Statistics said: “the publication provides a snapshot of how people balance their time between work, leisure, caring and other activities.

“On average, females spent 4 hours and 31 minutes a day doing unpaid work activities. Males spent over an hour less on these activities, averaging 3 hours and 12 minutes a day. Less than half of males (42 per cent) spent time on housework, compared to 70 per cent of females.

“Mothers spent an average of 3 hours and 34 minutes participating in child care activities a day, while fathers spent 2 hours and 19 minutes”.


Of those who spent time doing employment related activities, males spent 8 hours and 13 minutes in a day on these activities, compared to females who spent 7 hours and 12 minutes.

The survey also provides insight into the activities that people do in their free time. On average, people spent 5 hours and 27 minutes a day on free time activities that included social interaction, recreation and leisure activities.

Three quarters of people reported watching television and video, for an average of 2 hours and 55 minutes a day. Thirty per cent of respondents spent time doing exercise, sport and outdoor activities for an average of 1 hour and 29 minutes a day.

The survey asked how often participants felt rushed or pressed for time. Females aged 35 to 44 years were most likely to report always or often feeling rushed for time (55 per cent).


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