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Codes and Frequencies

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ACTIVITY reports the respondent's activity.

The activity is recorded as a six digit number. The first two digits correspond to a broad category, the middle two to a more detailed subcategory, and the final two to a specific activity within those categories. For example, broad category 02 refers to "Household Activities." Within "Household Activities," subcategory 01 refers to "Housework." Within that subcategory, 02 refers to "Doing laundry." The full six digit code for "Doing laundry" is therefore 020102. Analyses can be done using the first two, the first four, or all six digits of ACTIVITY.

There are a number of variables that may be used in conjunction with ACTIVITY. START and STOP record the start and stop times of the activity, respectively. DURATION records the number of minutes the activity lasted. DURATION_EXT also records the number of minutes the activity lasted, but does not truncate the last activity at 4:00 a.m. when the diary day ends. WHERE records the location of activities. Finally, the variable RELATEW records who was with the respondent during the activity. Users should note that "who" information is not collected for all activities (see WHO_ASK).

There are a number of secondary activity variables that may be used in conjunction with activity. See more information on secondary childcare and secondary eating and drinking.

Users analyzing travel should be aware of how travel activities are coded in the ATUS. More information is available elsewhere.

ACTIVITY is available via extracts that are hierarchical or rectangular (activity) (more info on extract formats). If you request a hierarchical extract and plan to construct time use variables in your statistics package, this variable may be useful to you. If you request a rectangular extract and plan to construct time use variables through the extract system, ACTIVITY will not be included in your extract, as persons are the unit of observation for rectangular extracts rather than activity or who records.


This variable has changed slightly over time. Details about combining detailed activity categories across time are available here.


  • All activities.


  • 2003-2023


This variable has no flags.