2 things South Africans spend more time on than other countries

South Africans spend more time sleeping and seeing friends than any other nation surveyed, the OECD’s time use database reveals.

The OECD’s time-use surveys record information on how people precisely allocate their time across different day-to-day activities.

For these surveys, the OECD creates a large sample of people who keep a diary of activities over one or several representative days for a given period.

Respondents describe their activities in their own words in a time diary and these are then re-coded by national statistical agencies into a set of descriptive categories.

These surveys classify activities across a total duration of 24 hours – or 1,440 minutes – per day.

The OECD’s time use database shows that South Africans sleep an average of 553 hours per week, equating to 9.22 hours per day.

This is significantly higher than the OECD average of 507 minutes, or 8.45 hours, per day.

The database further showed that South Africans spend 82 minutes per day visiting or entertaining friends – more than any other country.

When it comes to working, South Africa ranks at the lower end of the scale with 153 minutes per day, well below Japan, which leads with 252 minutes per day.

South Africa is doing even worse when it comes to sports, where it finished last with only five minutes of activity per day.

We are also the country which spends the least amount of time shopping at just nine minutes per day, far lower than Germany’s 32 minutes per day.

The table below shows how South Africa stacks up against other countries in relation to popular activities.

It should be noted that these figures are for the whole population of 15 to 64-year-olds, who include many students and people who do not work.

Time spent on different activities
Activity Top Country  Top country minutes per day South Africa minutes per day Average minutes per day
Sleeping South Africa 553 553 507
Leisure Norway 368 306 293
Work Japan 282 153 269
Housework Mexico 187 130 122
Eating and drinking France 133 72 95
Visiting and entertaining friends South Africa 82 82 52
Travel to work Korea 57 36 30
Shopping Germany 32 9 22
Sports Spain 42 5 22
Religious activities Turkey 33 16 7

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2 things South Africans spend more time on than other countries