The average global human spends nine hours a day focused on themselves or others, a new study has revealed.
Researchers studied 140 countries representing 87 percent of the world’s population to find out how we actually use our daily 24 hours.
Their aim was to see what a day would look like for the world’s average person.
The team from Canada’s McGill University crunched the data to conclude that around nine hours are spent on ourselves and others, such as meals, hygiene and grooming, active recreation and social interaction.
Another nine hours are spent asleep, with the higher average figure down to children and infants who sleep longer.
The remaining six are taken up with growing and collecting our food, preparing it, commuting and moving around, and allocational tasks such as trade, finance, sales, law, governance, and policing.
Waste management accounted for just one minute of the global day, in stark contrast to the 45 minutes spent tidying and maintaining our dwellings.
All infrastructure and building construction is accomplished in about 15 minutes.
The team said that they carried out the study because how these hours are spent determines the impacts we have on our surroundings as well as how we experience life.
Surprisingly, time spent on activities like meals, daily travel, hygiene and grooming, and food preparation doesn’t change with the material wealth of a population.
In contrast, the time spent growing and collecting food varied strongly with wealth, from over one hour in low-income countries to less than five minutes in high-income countries.
Eric Galbraith, a professor in Earth System Science at McGill University and the senior author of the study published in the journal PNAS said: “At present, we are struggling to come to terms with global challenges, and that calls for fresh perspectives on how the world works.
“If we are to sustainably navigate climate change and biodiversity loss, adapt to rapid technological change, and achieve global development goals it is crucial to understand the big picture of how the global human system functions so that we can see where there is potential for change.”
With a global population of eight billion people, there are approximately 190 billion human hours per day.
William Fajzel, a doctoral student in Earth System Science at McGill University and the first author on the study added: “We wanted to know – what does the time allocation of humanity look like, averaged over all people and across all countries?
“In other words, if the world were a single average person, what would their day look like?”
The research team looked at time use and labor data gathered for the period from 2000-2019, to avoid any impacts from the COVID pandemic, from over 140 countries representing 87% of the world’s population.
They categorized all the things people do in a waking day, including both work and non-work activities, according to what the purpose of the activity was.
They used 24 categories that fell into three broad groups:
Intended to alter the external world, including the provision or modification of food, energy, buildings, the maintenance of surroundings, etc.
Focussed directly on human minds or bodies including caring for the cleanliness, appearance, mood and health of self and others, as well as education, religion, hobbies, socializing, sports, media, resting, etc.
Organizing activities within society such as transportation, trade, finance, law and governance, etc.
They then manually classified nearly 4,000 unique activities.
The team estimated that the entire global economy occupies around 2.6 hours of the average human day.
This economic activity is dominated by agriculture and livestock production, followed by allocational activities like trade, finance and law, and manufacturing.
While the total of 2.6 hours may seem small, for two-thirds of the world’s working-age population, aged 15-64, who make up the labor force this equates to about a 40-hour work week.
The researchers say the results of the study provide a unique perspective on how economic activities fit into the overall fabric of human life at a global scale.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”
Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.