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A day in the life of an American woman, versus a man

A day in the life of an American woman, versus a man

Have you ever wondered how the average person’s day compares to yours? What about how gender influences that person’s schedule?

That’s exactly what the latest animation from data viz expert Nathan Yau shows us. To create the visualization, Nathan Yau used data from 2016 and 2017’s American Time Use Survey, a statistical treasure trove that’s produced by the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), the largest individual-level population database on the planet, based on census records from the United States and other countries.

Using the free software for statistical computing and graphics R, Yau set out to compare the average day–down to the minute–of women and men in the U.S. in particular. The design itself is straightforward: Men are represented in orange, women in cyan, and each dot represents a person. But the insights are more complicated.

Explore the full graphic here. [Image: Flowing Data]

You can see quickly how more men cluster in the work area than in the household care cluster, which includes cleaning, laundry–and taking care of other family members. I wasn’t surprised to see more men than women in the work cluster, but even during non-work hours, household work falls heavily on women while some men spent their time on other things.

According to Yau, who has focused on time use analysis specifically over the years, the animation is a continuation of a previous series that looked at a typical day in the life of Americans using a similar technique. “[The previous visualization] gave a good overall picture,” he told me via email, “but I’m always curious how different groups differ.”

In this case, it’s an eye-opening reminder that we still have plenty of work to do to achieve gender equality.

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