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Time Use Data Access System

Sandra Hofferth continues Time Use project to extend data "backwards through time and geographically across countries"

The project, funded through an R01 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD),  will integrate, document and disseminate individual-level data on how people allocate their time. The first phase of the project, focusing on data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), had, for a primary goal the development of an online system – the American Time Use Survey Data Extract Builder (ATUS-X) – that made it easier for researchers to work with ATUS data. Work involved data reformatting, development of integrated documentation, matching Current Population Survey supplement data to the ATUS, and the design of a web dissemination system that lets users define data extracts that include custom-designed time-use variables. The current project will extend the scope of the project backwards through time and geographically across countries, more than quintupling the number of samples to 41. This will involve building a new Time Use Data Extract System (TUS-X) that can manage the full scope of the historical and international data. The database will include the 8 ATUS samples already incorporated into the ATUS-X system, the 5 new ATUS datasets that will become available from 2011 to 2015, 5 historical U.S. surveys conducted between 1965 and 1994, and 23 samples from surveys conducted in five European countries plus Canada since 1961. To carry out this work, the University of Maryland and the University of Minnesota will partner with the Centre for Time Use Research (CTUR), University of Oxford, to 1) expand the data base by adding 33 samples drawn from the United States, Canada and five European countries over five decades; 2) enhance the data by making available new harmonized variables; adding new filters for the creation of time use variables that reflect both the respondent’s primary activity and also any simultaneous (secondary) activities; and introducing new functionality to support the analysis of samples that include time diaries for multiple persons per household and/or multiple days per person; 3) document the data, including developing comprehensive integrated metadata for all new samples and variables and extensive coverage of the comparability of each variable across countries and over time; and 4) improve data dissemination, expanding user support and outreach. The team expects that continuing the project for another five years and adding samples and functionality will facilitate research on parental time with children, how time use influences heath, household responses to changing economic conditions, and cross-national research on health and well-being in different cultural and policy settings.