This infographic shows who Americans spend most of their time with

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Adolescence is when people in the US tend to spend most time with friends. Image: Unsplash/Valiant Made

Avery Koop
Author, Visual Capitalist
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  • These infographics from the American Time Use Survey and Our World in Data show who Americans spend the most time with at various stages of their life.
  • In the average American’s teenage years, they spend most of their time alone and with their family.
  • As people enter their twenties and begin to enter the workforce, they spend more time alone.
  • By the time someone reaches 80, their daily time alone rises to almost 8 hours.

Who Americans Spend Their Time With

Throughout history, humans have relied on cooperation and social relationships to thrive. Of course, who we spend time with evolves throughout our lifetime.

Using insights from the American Time Use Survey and Our World in Data, we look at who Americans spend the most time with at various ages of their life.

Graph showing who Americans spend their time with, by age
As Americans age they will spend more time alone Image: American Time Use Survey

Adolescence to Adulthood

In the average American’s teenage years, they spend most of their time alone and with their family. This makes sense, as the majority of people under 18 still live in a home with their nuclear family unit, meaning parents and siblings. Not surprisingly, adolescence is also when time spent with friends reaches its peak.

Jumping forward to a person’s early adulthood, 25-year-olds spend an average of 275 minutes per day alone, and 199 minutes with coworkers. This aligns with people in their twenties beginning to enter the workforce.

By age 35, people are still spending the most time with themselves, at 263 minutes per day. However, time spent combined with children and partners, the runner-ups, adds up to 450 minutes or around 7.5 hours a day.

Table showing who teenagers and adults spend the most time with
Teenagers will spend most of their time with family Image: Visual Capitalist

Although people are spending more time with kids and partners as they grow older, this trend may shift, as women are having fewer children. More women today are obtaining an education and are entering the workforce, causing them to delay or entirely put off having children.

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Middle to Old Age

Upon turning 45, the average person spends 309 minutes a day alone, and in second place, 199 minutes with children. Time with coworkers remains relatively steady throughout someone’s forties, which coincides with the middle of career for most people in the workforce.

By age 55, time spent alone still takes top spot, but time spent with a partner goes up to 184 minutes, and time with coworkers also moves up, pushing out time spent with children.

Table showing who middle to old age adults spend the most time with
By age 55, time spent alone is at an all time high Image: Visual Capitalist

Typically, time spent with children during the mid-fifties tends to see a sharp decline as children enter adulthood and begin to move out or spend more time out of the house.

Today, more children are staying at home longer or even moving back home. 52% of adult children in the U.S. today are living with their parents.

As people get closer to old age, around 65-years-old, they spend increasingly less time with coworkers as they begin to retire, and much more time alone or with a spouse. Then, from age 65-75, people consistently spend the most time alone, then with a partner and family.

Alone and Lonely?

One of the most significant trends on the chart is increased time spent alone.

Infographic showing the trend of spending time alone as people age
As people age the time spent alone increases Image: Visual Capitalist

By the time someone reaches 80, their daily minutes alone goes up to 477. This can be a problematic reality. As the population continues to age in many countries around the world, more elderly people are left without resources or social connection.

Additionally, while one quarter of elderly Americans live alone, the trend of solo living is going up across nearly every age group, and this trend applies to a number of mature economies around the world.

Graph showing the percentage of Americans Living Alone. by Age
At Age 89, 40% of Americans live alone Image: Our World in Data
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World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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