Time Poverty Thresholds and Rates for the US Population

Charlene M. Kalenkoski, Karen S. Hamrick, Margaret Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Time constraints, like money constraints, affect Americans' well-being. This paper defines what it means to be time poor based on the concepts of necessary and committed time and presents time poverty thresholds and rates for the US population and certain subgroups. Multivariate regression techniques are used to identify the key variables associated with discretionary time and time poverty. The data confirm the idea that individuals in households with children have less discretionary time and are thus more likely to be time poor than those in households without children. Controlling for other household characteristics, an additional child reduces a household adult's daily discretionary time by 35 min. Surprisingly, while one might expect the necessary and committed activities required of an individual to be less in a two-adult household with children than in a one-adult household with children because child care can be shared, the data show that the presence of such a second adult only marginally reduces the necessary and committed time burden of an individual household member. Perhaps even more surprisingly, household income is not a statistically significant correlate of discretionary time or time poverty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-155
Number of pages27
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • American Time Use Survey
  • Discretionary time
  • Time poor
  • Time poverty


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