Here’s how wealthier Americans spend their free time compared to those who earn less

Wealthier Americans spend their leisure time differently—here's how

The size of your Friday paycheck can have a big effect on how you spend your weekend.

According to the American Time Use Survey produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans who earn $50,000 per year or more disproportionately spend their free time doing activities like playing racquet sports and attending performing arts events.

On the other hand, Americans who make less than average are more likely to spend time watching television and listening to the radio.

The activity that higher-income Americans most disproportionately enjoy is playing golf, a pastime Malcolm Gladwell once referred to as "crack for rich white guys" for which, he says, there "isn't any parallel for ordinary people."

Gladwell also cites research that suggests that the more golf a CEO plays the worse their company does, and the more likely they are to get fired. President Donald Trump, who Forbes estimates is worth $3.5 billion, not only owns 17 golf resorts, he's made 47 trips to the golf course since becoming president in January.

Donald Trump plays a round of golf after the opening of The Trump International Golf Links Course on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland.
Ian MacNicol | Getty Images

The activity that is most disproportionately enjoyed by lower-income Americans is watching religious television. Pew Research Center found that one-third of Americans over the age of 50, and 38 percent of those over 65, reported watching religious television in the past week. Lower-income Americans are also more likely to spend time "relaxing and thinking."

While it is not particularly surprising that wealthier people spend more time golfing and going to the opera, other findings are more counterintuitive.

Running, for example, is an activity that high-income Americans are more likely to do even though it is relatively inexpensive. One possible explanation for this is that higher-income people may be more likely to live in safe neighborhoods or areas with well-kept running paths.

Another surprising finding is that while playing baseball is commonly enjoyed among people of all income brackets, playing softball is disproportionately enjoyed by people who are wealthier than the average.

One thing that higher and lower-income Americans have in common is writing. Writing for personal interest is equally enjoyed by both groups, though the middle class seems to write the least.

Check out the infographic below from data scientist Henrik Lindberg to see how Americans spend their free time based on income:

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