This paper explores trends in time alone and with others in the United States. Since 2003, Americans have increasingly spent their free time alone, on leisure at home, and have decreasingly spent their free time with individuals from other households. These trends are more pronounced for non-White individuals, for males, for the less educated, and for individuals from lower-income households. Survey respondents spending a large fraction of their free time alone report lower subjective well-being. As a result, differential trends in time alone suggest that between-group inequality may be increasing more quickly than previous research has reported.
A Twenty-First Century of Solitude? Time Alone and Together in the United States
WP 22-11 – Americans increasingly spend their free time alone. This paper shows that time alone has increased most for low-income, non-White, and less-educated individuals. These trends imply that well-being inequality is increasing faster than previously thought.