One of the most substantial policy changes in the past decade was the elimination of the main social welfare program for poor families, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, ending the entitlement to cash benefits and replacing it with a policy emphasizing work. A question relevant for understanding the consequences of this policy change is how the time allocation among work and family care activities of poor families has changed. President Clinton's proposed budget for fiscal 2001 includes funds for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to develop a survey to measure how Americans spend their time (U.S. Department of Labor, 2000). BLS has already explored the feasibility of such a survey. In 1997, a pilot study that collected time-use data for a sample of Americans was conducted, and the results of that study were presented at a 1997 conference sponsored by BLS and the MacArthur Network on the Family and the Economy. Using knowledge gained from the pilot study and the conference, BLS published a report on the feasibility of a national time-use survey and developed a proposal to conduct the survey.
Time-Use Measurement and Research is a summary of a workshop convened to consider data and methodological issues in measuring time use. This report discusses why time-use data are needed, highlighting many of policy and behavioral applications of time-use data. It also summarizes conceptual issues covered during the workshop, discusses a framework for how individuals and households allocate their time, and comments on some conceptual issues in measuring time use.