The Time Use Survey (TUS) is a household-based survey that measures and analyses the time spent by women and men, girls and boys, the rich and the poor, on different activities over a specified period. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) conducts time use surveys using the 'yesterday' diary approach. A 'yesterday' diary is one in which the respondent is asked what they did for each period in the 24 hours of a day preceding the survey interview. Unlike data from other surveys, time use data reflects what activities are performed, how they are performed and how long it takes to perform such activities. Such activities include paid work, unpaid work, volunteer work, domestic work, leisure and personal activities.
Stats SA conducted the first TUS in 2000 and the second one in 2010. The TUS aims to provide information on the division of both paid and unpaid labour between women and men, shed light on the reproductive and leisure activities of household members, and provide information about less well-understood productive activities such as subsistence work, casual work and work in the informal sector. Therefore, TUS surveys can be used for gender policy analysis in relation to employment and unemployment, services for children, the elderly and people with disabilities, and provision of basic household services such as electricity and water that obviate the need for manual collection of fuel and water for household use.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Households and individuals
v1: Edited, anonymised dataset for public distribution
Version 1 of the survey included 3 data files from StatsSA: a person file, household file and an activities file. The household file was missing a variable ("Q123bRespondent2") that relates to data collected from the household roster questions in section 1C of the questionnaire.
Version 1.1 of the survey included an additional data file which DataFirst obtained from StatsSA. Therefore, version 1.1 included 4 data files: a person file, household file, activities file and an all-persons file. The additional "all-persons" file included the missing data from section 1C of the questionnarie. As such, the variable "Q123bRespondent2" appeared in the all-persons file but did not appear in the household file.
Version 1.2 of the survey includes an amended household file which DataFirst downloaded from StatsSA that now includes the variable "Q123bRespondent2". Thus, verison 1.2 includes 4 data files (person, household, activities and all-persons) with no missing variables.
The TUS collects household data and demographic data on two people selected as respondents in each household. Each of the selected respondents was asked what activities they undertook in the twenty four hours starting at 4 am the previous day and ending at 4 am on the day of the interview. The activity classification system used in the TUS has ten broad categories which are consistent with the System of National Accounts (SNA) which underlies the calculation of gross domestic product (GDP). These include:
1. Work in establishments includes activities such as waged employment, domestic work, and looking for work.
2. Primary production not for establishments includes activities such as subsistence farming, and collecting fuel and water.
3. Other production of goods and services not for establishments includes activities such as home-based production, informal street trading, and informal provision of services such as hairdressing.
4. Household maintenance includes activities such as housework and personal and household shopping.
5. Care of persons in the household includes looking after children, the sick, the elderly and the disabled members of the household.
6. Community service to non-household members includes activities such as caring for non-household members, cooking for collective occasions, and volunteering with an organisation.
7. Learning includes activities such as attendance at school, doing homework, and attending work-related and non-formal courses.
8. Social and cultural includes activities such as socialising, participating in cultural and religious activities, participating in and observing sports.
9. Mass media use includes activities such as watching television, listening to the radio and visiting the library.
10. Personal care includes activities such as sleeping, eating and drinking, washing and dressing oneself, and receiving medical and personal care.
The survey has national coverage
The lowest level of geographic aggregation covered by the data is province
The TUS sample covered the non-institutional population aged 10 years and above excluding those living in worker hostels - thus representing an estimated 39,9 million people.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
The Time Use Survey (TUS) utilised the frame developed as a general-purpose household survey frame that can be used by all other household surveys irrespective of the sample size of the survey. The sample size for the TUS is roughly 30 000 dwellings.The sample is based on information collected during the 2001 Population Census conducted by Stats SA. In preparation for the 2001 Census, the country was divided into 80 787 enumeration areas (EAs). Stats SA's household-based surveys use a master sample of primary sampling units (PSUs) which comprises EAs that are drawn from across the country. The sample is designed to be representative at provincial level and within provinces at metro/non-metro level. Within the metros, the sample is further distributed by geography type. The four geography types are: urban formal, urban informal, rural formal and tribal areas.
The current sample size is 3 080 PSUs divided equally into four subgroups or panels called rotation groups. The rotation groups are designed in such a way that each of these groups has the same distribution pattern as that which is observed in the whole sample. They are numbered from one to four and these numbers also correspond to the quarters of the year in which the sample will be rotated for the particular group. The sample for TUS is based on a stratified two-stage design with probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling of PSUs in the first stage, and sampling of dwelling units (DUs) with systematic sampling in the second stage.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The questionnaire for the TUS is comprised of five sections:
Section 1 - details of all household members
Section 2 - demographic details of the two selected individuals in a household
Section 3 - economic activities of the two selected individuals in a household
Section 4 - main work activity of the two selected individuals in a household
Section 5 - recorded activities performed by the selected person in a household (diary)
The diary was divided into half-hour slots. Respondents were asked an open-ended question as to the activities performed during a given half-hour. These activities were then post-coded by the fieldworker according to the activity classification system.The respondent could report up to three activities for each time slot. Where there was more than one activity reported for a half hour, the respondent was asked whether these activities were done simultaneously, or one after the other.
The questionnaire includes two location codes for each recorded activity. The first code provides for eight broadly-defined locations plus the mobile activity of travel. Where the location of a particular activity could be classified as more than one of the given options, the option highest on the list took precedence. The second code distinguished whether the activity was done inside or outside for the eight broadly-defined locations, and distinguished the mode of travel for all travel activity.
Statistics South Africa. Time use survey 2010 [dataset]. Version 1.2. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2014. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/sed9-z823