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Codes and Frequencies

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MAIN reports the main activity of the respondent. There are 98 main activities. Main is recorded as a 2 digit number. These 98 activities are grouped under 11 broad categories: 1. Personal care, 2. Paid work, 3. Education, 4. Unpaid domestic work, 5. Child care, 6. Adult care, civic, voluntary and religious activity, 7. Out of home free time and leisure, 8. Sports, exercise and outdoor activities, 9. In home free time leisure, 10. Media and computing, 11. Travel and finally, missing activity time (-8).

See documentation (provided by the Centre for Time Use Research, University of Oxford) that details the mapping of original activity codes to the harmonized activity codes for each survey. Users may also refer to this additional documentation which summarizes the main differences across the survey years.

Imputed activities: A small number of activity codes are imputed if the original activity codes were missing. All imputed activity codes are labeled as such in the data and can be easily distinguished from activities that were coded in the original data. For more information, see the "Imputation for missing values" section in the AHTUS codebook.

MAIN is only available if you select a hierarchical extract. If you request a hierarchical extract and plan to construct time use variables in your statistics package, this variable may be useful to you. Alternatively, you may use MAIN to construct a time use variable as part of this system.


This variable has been harmonized and each main category may include different sets of activities across the survey years. Users should note the differences in the included activities for each main activity category in their analysis.


  • All activities.


  • 1930, 1965, 1975, 1985, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2003-2012, 2018


This variable has no flags.