Chart of the Day: Time Spent versus Age

Here’s a set of charts from Quartz (via Kottke) that shows how people spend time during different “ages” of their life. It pretty much speaks for itself:

The Quartz analysis is kind of light, but they do have this to say about the solitude trend:

Hours spent in the company of children, friends, and extended family members all plateau by our mid-50s. And from the age of 40 until death, we spend an ever-increasing amount of time alone.

The charts made me think about how urban design and the built enviornment relates to these different factors. For example, in the book Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam connects social relationships to the urban landscape, pointing to commuting times and housing development patterns as reasons why social connections are fraying in the US.

Do you think there’s a pattern here? Is the US different than elsewhere along these lines? Or is this just the data footprint behind the arc of human existence?

(LOL, that’s pretty deep. Imagine those questions asked in a Morgan Freeman voice.)

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2 Responses to Chart of the Day: Time Spent versus Age

  1. Luke Birtzer July 27, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    Fascinating. A little sad, but I find it inspiring to think what could be done to change this. And, I think drastically improved urban environments would certainly change it.

    I would really like to see how the data differs between suburbs, urban, and rural. Also, I wonder if there’s data like this from the past..i e, before the internet.

    (written by me..alone on a computer).

  2. Rosa July 28, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

    I think this is misleading – as you get older and your nonwork time gets mostly eaten up by family obligations, a lot of that “alone” time is spent in contact with friends – by phone or online. In the past, literate people spent that time writing letters. It’s the main way most of us maintain friendships, and it’s important.

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