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May 2007
Vol. 8, no. 5

Perspectives on Labour and Income

The busy lives of teens
Katherine Marshall

  • In 2005, school-attending teens aged 15 to 19 averaged a 50-hour workweek (school, paid work and housework), virtually the same as adults aged 20 to 64 doing the same activities.
  • On any given day, 60% of teens spent 2.3 hours on homework. Teens were significantly more likely to do homework if both parents had a university education or if they lived in an intact two-parent family; they were significantly less likely to do so if they were boys with Canadian-born parent(s) or if they had a paid job with long hours (20 or more).
  • Teen involvement in paid work has increased over the past 20 years. In 2005, one in five reported working an average of five hours on the day they were interviewed. Paid work was more common on weekends and among teens aged 18 and 19.
  • Four in 10 teenagers did some housework daily, averaging about an hour. Influencing factors included family type, cultural background, and community size.
  • Significantly more teens with little or no stress (related to time and unpaid and paid labour) reported being very happy and/or very satisfied with life than teens with high stress (72% versus 45%).

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Katherine Marshall is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. She can be reached at 613-951-6890 or

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