Wednesday, July 08, 2015

How do Georgians spend their leisure time?

How much free time people have – and how they choose to spend it – is influenced by multiple factors, with some of the most important being work, family and a person’s stage of life (Roberts et al, 2009; Parker, 1975). CRRC-Georgia’s 2011 Media survey, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allows us to delve into how Georgians spend their leisure time. To find this out, an open question was asked: “Please tell me how you usually spend your free time in your day-to-day life?” The number of answers respondents could provide was not limited. This blog post looks at how answers differ by age, sex, income and settlement type.

The most popular activities named were watching TV (83%) and spending time with friends or family (49%). A small proportion of the population (5%) said they had no free time at all.

For some, but not all, activities, the survey showed clear differences in the responses of representatives of different age groups. For example, 58% of 18-30 year olds mentioned that they spend their free time with their families, compared to 33% of the over-60 group. The situation is reversed when it comes to gardening, however: just 7% of the youngest age group said they gardened in their spare time, whereas 26% of the oldest age groups (46-60 and over-60s) take care of their yard or garden. Stark differences are also seen in the use of the internet and listening to music. Not much difference is apparent, though, when it comes to reading books, hanging out, sleeping and shopping.

Differences can also be seen in how men and women report spending their spare time. The graph below shows leisure time activities with the biggest differences between men and women. Men are more likely than women to say they spend their free time hanging out (28% compared to 5%), sleeping (16% compared to 10%) or exercising (7% compared to 1%), while women are more likely to report reading books (23% versus 14%) and shopping (11% vs 6%).

The data also enables us to see whether there are any differences in the preferred way of spending free time by household income. As might be expected, the share of those who spend time with friends/family, use the internet and read books is higher when the household income is relatively high, while gardening, for example, is more common in cases of households with a lower income. A previous CRRC blog showed that employed people are more likely than the unemployed to participate in activities which involve socializing, meeting new people and helping others. Those, on the other hand, who said they had no household income are more likely to hang out than any other group.

Activities also differ widely between those living in and outside the capital, Tbilisi. When it comes to going to the cinema or theatre, this could be due to the lack of such an opportunity outside the capital, as theatres and cinemas can be less accessible. Internet access is also more common in the capital, helping explain the difference in use of the internet (34% in Tbilisi vs 14% in the rest of the country). People living outside the capital were less likely to read books than those living in Tbilisi, but more likely to watch TV and read newspapers.

This blog post has looked at the Georgian population’s involvement in particular leisure activities, and how this involvement varies by age, sex, income and settlement type. Further analysis could consider whether these demographic characteristics affect activities that people undertake in their free time that are not commonly categorized as leisure – such as helping neighbors, cleaning public space, or volunteering at church.

For more data, have a look at CRRC’s Online Data Analysis tool.

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