Congressional Briefing Showcased American Time Use Survey

By PAA Web posted 05-02-2016 00:00


ATUS Briefing SpeakerOn May 2, 2016, the Population Association of America (PAA) sponsored a congressional briefing, “Where Does the Time Go? Understanding Overwhelmed Working Families through the American Time Use Survey.” The event was organized with support from Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and cosponsored by nine organizations: American Economic Association, American Educational Research Association, American Sociological Association, American Statistical Association, Association of Population Centers, Consortium of Social Science Associations, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, Population Reference Bureau, and SAGE Publishing.

The briefing, which attracted interest from over 100 congressional offices as well as officials from federal agencies and non-profit organizations in Washington, DC, featured research findings and programmatic uses of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS).

The speakers included:

  • Dr. Liana Sayer, Director, University of Maryland Time Use Laboratory—Dr. Sayer, as a member of the PAA Board of Directors and national expert on time use research, opened the event, sharing examples of key research findings related to unpaid work, child care, and health outcomes, which her laboratory has generated using ATUS data.
  • Ms. Brigid Schulte, the New York Times best-selling author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” and former Washington Post reporter—Ms. Schulte discussed major themes from her book, including what she learned about work-family life balance in the United States, and in her own life, by studying ATUS data. She also shared insights regarding time use in other countries and how U.S. families— and working women in particular—compare to their counterparts in other countries.
  • Ms. Diane Herz, Vice President, Director of Survey Research, Mathematica Policy Research—As the founding ATUS Program Manager, Ms. Herz discussed the evolution of the ATUS and the survey’s initial challenges. She described how the survey’s design and implementation unfolded.
  • Dr. Steven Martin, Senior Research Associate, Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population, Urban Institute—Dr. Martin shared his recently published research findings, which were informed by ATUS data, regarding the potential implications of delayed childbearing and permanent childlessness in the U.S.
  • Ms. Rachel Krantz-Kent—Program Manager, ATUS, Bureau of Labor Statistics—Ms. Krantz-Kent provided an overview of the mission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and described how the ATUS is related to the agency’s mission. She also shared several examples of how federal agencies have used ATUS data to understand issues such as food deserts, time use by older people, sleep patterns in school-aged children, and travel and commuting burdens.

During the question and answer segment of the briefing, attendees asked a wide range of questions, addressing topics such as the status of funding for the BLS and ATUS, the survey’s geographic representativeness, and the survey’s unique ability to inform specific policy issues. For more information, access the presenters’ slides here.