Introduction

Time-use research with diary registrations tries to sketch an as precise picture as possible about the every-day activities of people. In such studies the respondents are asked to fill in all activities they were doing during their day, including the precise time and duration. There are also contextual questions asked connected to the activities, such as with whom and where the respondent was, etc.

The Directorate-general Belgium conducted the fieldwork in 1999, 2005 and 2013. They were responsible for the sample design, the collection of the data on both individual and household level. They also did a first quality control.

The cleaning and valorisation was possible in the framework of the BRAIN-program (previously AGORA-program) of the Federal Scientific Institutions and the Research group TOR of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

During these processes the guidelines of the EUROSTAT were closely followed. The respondents had to register their activities every 10 minutes in their own words. Besides the primary activities and (possible) secondary activities, the respondents had to note the place, the transportation method, and with whom they conducted the activities. All these questions were answered for all the registered activities during one weekday and one weekend day. A specific example about the registration method can be consulted on the following link.

The EUROSTAT guidelines apply a free booking method for the activities, which are then divided into 272 activity codes both for primary, secondary activities, place of the activity and the transportation method. The activity list of 1999 was adjusted in 2005 to fit the main changes in society (e.g. in 2005 you could register using a computer). In 2013 the new EUROSTAT guidelines of 2008 were applied and the number of unique activity codes was extended to 415. The comparability of the datasets is not threatened by these changes. The diary registration was coupled with two surveys: a household survey and an individual survey. In 1999 and 2005 both surveys were conducted by an enqueteur, in the framework of the household budget survey. For the first time in 2013 the time-use survey was coupled to the Labour Force Survey (LFS). A subsample of the LFS was invited to take part in the time-use survey. In the individual survey information was asked about the socio-demographic variables, work situation, income, health and free time. The household survey includes information on housing, spending, sustainable goods, childcare and information about help provided to the family. The datasets of 1999, 2005 and 2013 are for the most important variables comparable.

The data collection of 1999 was between December 1998 and January 2000, of 2005 between January 2005 and the first weeks of January 2006. Every time the survey was conducted in the month following the month in which the respondents filled in the household budget survey. The time-use research of 2013 was conducted between January 2013 and February 2014. In this case the time-use registration happened directly after filling in the LFS. An algorithm was developed to spread the registration days among the weeks and the different months as equal as possible. All members of the household filled in the survey during the same days.