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A MATTER OF TIME

Exactly how the first month of lockdown changed how Brits spend their time

Boxer Shakan Peters poses during a training session in his mother's garden, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), UK
REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge
Back garden boxing in Birmingham
  • Amanda Shendruk
By Amanda Shendruk

Visual journalist

As the UK relaxes its stay-at-home rules, a new study reveals how people spent their time indoors. The Office of National Statistics surveyed Brits about their day-to-day lives in March 2020. Country-wide, the data show an uptick in socializing and sleeping, and a significant drop in travel.

The changes aren’t that simple, though. The activity of the young changed differently than the old, men differently than women, and those of different income varied too. Notably, lower income households were less likely to report an increase in time spent on entertainment or socializing, and higher income households reduced their travel more significantly than others.

Using our tool, compare how different groups of people spent their time during lockdown, and how that has changed.

The last time the UK collected time use data was 2015, so not all of the changes can be attributed to the pandemic. Some are likely the result of otherwise changing behaviors. Additionally, the data is presented as averages, meaning it includes all those people who never spend any time on a particular activity.

Boris Johnson the UK’s prime minister announced the stay-at-home order on March 23. The survey was conducted between March 28 and April 26.

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