How do Kosovars spend their time?
When Kosovo Government entered into an agreement with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), back in 2016, we jointly developed a Constraints to Economic Growth Analysis (CA). Through that process, we came across some striking statistics and questions regarding labour market variables that needed further analysis.
One question was especially important: why are so many women out of the labour market and what do they do during a day? While there were a number of large-scale surveys measuring employment behavior in Kosovo, none of them could actually answer this question. Seeking to fill this empirical gap, MCC contracted a well-known consulting firm (Social Impact) to implement a time-use survey, for the first time in Kosovo.
Time Use Survey was designed to also answer the following main questions: what are people doing with their time? Especially, what are the women or the unemployed doing with their time? How much time is spent on child care and elderly care? How much time is spent commuting? Respondents were asked to record time-use over the 24-hour period preceding the interview.
The study found that, on an aggregate level in a given day, Kosovars “spent around 11 hours sleeping and performing personal care (bathing, dressing, etc.)” Overall and across all age groups, Kosovars “spent 2 hours working”, while around 5 hours were spent “conducting household and family care”, indicating that domestic duties and childcare require a significant time investment. Kosovars spent an “additional 1.5 hours on mass media consumption”, around 3 hours on “social life and entertainment”, but only “half an hour on sports and outdoor activities”. Fewer hours were dedicated to additional activities such as travel (half an hour), including commuting to and from work. This is probably explained by the fact that Kosovo is small and destinations to and from work are short.
As expected, data show substantial variation in time use by gender. In terms of employment, men spent 3.7 hours a day working, compared to less than an hour a day spent by women. The starkest differential in time spent on activities by gender was on household and family care, women were 3.1 times more likely than men to spend time on household and family care, with men dedicating an average of 2.5 hours per day to child care and cleaning compared to women spending 7.2 hours on these responsibilities. Men were more likely to spend time on hobbies and computing, mass media consumption (2 hours), and travel (0.7 hours) than women, who spend no time on hobbies and computing and about 1.2 hours on mass media. Men also spend more time on voluntary work and meetings, social life and entertainment, and sports and outdoor activities.
To a less dramatic extent, the data show variation in time spent on activities by geographic location. Residents of urban and rural areas spent roughly the same amount of time on employment, on average: 2.5 hours per day versus 2 hours per day. Rural residents spent an average of 5.6 hours on household and family care, compared to urban residents who spent 4.2 hours per day on these activities. All other activities showed little variation across the geographic area.
In addition to comparing the number of hours spent on each activity by subgroup, it is illuminating to explore the proportion of individuals, in each group, performing each activity during each hour of the day. On average, the majority of employment takes place between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. Household and family care activities are more widely distributed throughout the day, with individuals performing these duties between the hours of 7:00 am and 8:00 pm. The peak time for socializing and entertaining was 3:00 pm, followed by 9:00 pm. The majority of sleeping and personal care took place between 12:00 am and 7:00 am. In terms of variation by gender, the starkest difference between male and female time use during the day was related to per cent of individuals spending in employment between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. While men were working during hours of peak employment, only about 6% of women reported working during this window.
The amount of time dedicated to each activity varied by geographic location, with a higher percentage of rural residents working between the hours of 4:00 am and 7:00 am than their urban counterparts. Overall, urban individuals conducted the majority of their employment during traditional working hours (between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm) compared to rural residents. Rural respondents also reported spending more time on household and family care than residents of urban areas. There was relatively little variation in time or hours spent socializing or entertaining or on hobbies and computing by geographic location. Urban residents travelled almost twice as much as rural respondents during peak commuting hours.
photo: Valdrin Xhemaj
Alban Zogaj is Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with Millennium Foundation Kosovo. Opinions in this blog may not reflect necessarily policies of Government of Kosovo or Millennium Challenge Corporation.