Time use survey

Description of the data collection

The Time Use Survey is a sample survey used to collect data about the structure of time use of Finns. It aims to find out how much time is spent on gainful employment, household work, studies, various leisure pursuits and other activities. Apart from examining the time used for diverse activities, the survey also studies daily and weekly rhythms of time use and time spent together with others.

Statistics Finland has conducted Time Use Surveys since 1979, approximately every ten years. The data for the latest Time Use Survey were collected from 2009 to 2010. Since 1999–2000, the data have been collected as EU harmonised data.

Those participating in the survey keep a diary of their time use over a two-day period. The interviews are conducted as telephone interviews. The data collection lasts 12 months.

From whom are data collected?

A household sample is used in the Time Use Survey, where the survey units are households and their members over 10 years of age. The survey area is the whole country.
Participation in the Time Use Survey is voluntary. It is, however, important to include the answers from as many households as possible selected to the sample to represent all Finnish households in order for the survey to be successful.

What are the data used for?

The results of the Time Use Survey depict how much time the population spends on gainful employment, household work, studies, and various leisure pursuits, as well as changes in time use. The data of the Time Use Survey are also used to measure the value of household production and for international comparisons. The data can be used to support equality, family, social, transport and cultural policies, for instance. The data are needed, for example, in the UN Indicator for Sustainable Development measuring gender equality (SDG5). In addition to the UN, time use data are entered into the databases of Eurostat and OECD (e.g. OECD Well-being indicator).

The data from the data collection are used in the following statistics:

Data processing

The Statistics Act (280/2004) obliges Statistics Finland to treat the provided data as confidential. The answers of an individual person cannot be identified in the statistics to be published.


Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, has developed recommendations for the harmonisation of Time Use Surveys in cooperation with national statistical institutes. The recommendations on harmonisation affect the classifications and collection methods. Maintaining comparability with previous national surveys is ensured in many ways. Eurostat's guidelines permit the use of national interview questions and adding of national time use categories to the basic frame. On the other hand, the format of the diary is fully harmonised.

The diary data for the 2020 data collection are primarily collected online. The data collection tool is XCola developed at Statistics Finland. For those who are unable or unwilling to respond online, the alternative is a paper diary.

How often are data collected?

Other regular