Americans Are Taking Less Vacation

by Michael R. Strain

My wife just got back from a wedding in England, and while there she chatted up a friend about Americans and vacation. Her friend worked for a few years in London, and recently moved to Boston. He is shocked by how little vacation time Americans have relative to the Brits.

I thought of this while reading a fascinating back-of-the-envelope calculation by Evan Soltas.

Nine million Americans took a week off in July 1976, the peak month each year for summer travel. Yet in July 2014, just seven million did. Keeping in mind that 60 million more Americans have jobs today than in 1976, that adds up to a huge decline in the share of workers taking vacations.

Some rough calculations show, in fact, that about 80 percent of workers once took an annual weeklong vacation — and now, just 56 percent do.

There’s lots more in the whole post, which you can find here.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him on Twitter at

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