Study finds Idahoans have one of the worst work-life balances in the US. How low do we rank?

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Idaho is a great place to live for those who want to get out of the house and take a break from work for a while. There are biking and hiking trails in the Boise Foothills, countless campgrounds in the Boise National Forest and tons of entertainment shows, bars and restaurants downtown.

There is only one problem. Idahoans are not very good at distracting themselves from work.

That’s according to a study by Solitaire Bliss, which used data from the 2021 American Time Use Survey to find that Idaho has the worst work-life balance of any state.

The Solitaire Bliss study calculated the average hours worked per day and the average time spent in leisure activities to calculate a work-to-leisure ratio.

In the study, working time is considered as any time spent at work and traveling to and from work. Leisure time is defined as socializing, relaxing, engaging in sport, exercise and recreation, and time spent traveling for these activities.

According to the Time Use Survey, Idahoans spend an average of 8.85 hours a day at work and only 1.98 hours on leisure activities. This resulted in a work/leisure ratio of 4.47, beating Iowa to the top with a work/leisure ratio of 4.01.

Idaho residents don’t spend nearly the most hours per day at work—that honor goes to Rhode Island, whose residents work an average of 10.24 hours per day. But the Gathering State’s residents still lag far behind the pack in terms of time they spend having fun — the average of 1.98 hours they spend having fun is the least of any state.

The best and worst states for work-life balance

Vermonters live the good life. According to the study, Vermont residents spent the second least amount of time working each day (7.13 hours) and the most time in leisure activities (4.66 hours) of any other state.

Here are the top 5 states to live in for excellent work-life balance, along with their work-life ratio:

  1. Vermont – 1.53

  2. North Dakota – 1.95

  3. Nevada – 2.03

  4. Wyoming – 2.04

  5. Utah-2.17

Almost all of Idaho’s neighboring states — Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — are in the top 15.

So while those living near Idaho know how to turn off their work minds, here are some of the other worst states to live in for work-life balance:

  1. Idaho-4.47

  2. Iowa – 4.01

  3. Tennessee 3.94

  4. Rhode Island – 3.85

  5. New Mexico – 3.79


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