How the Average Hours Worked Per Week Decreased in the the Last 150 Years

The average human now lives about 75 years.

We spend about a third of that time sleeping … a number that probably hasn't changed much across human history.

What has changed is what we do with the remaining time.

As the following chart shows, over the past 150 years, there has been a profound shift in what we do with our waking hours.


150115 The Biggest Change in the World

Our World in Data.


In 1870, employed persons worked close to 3,000 hours per year … which is roughly 10 hours per day, 6 days a week, 300 days a year. That number has almost halved for the most productive countries.

  1. Thanks for sharing this data. This remarkable drop in working hours has freed up a lot of extra time, more on leisure, watching TV, playing games, etc. However, humans also complain about how much they work now more than ever.

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