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A Nation that’s Always on Time? Not so fast…

Very few of us Canadians admit that we are generally late when going to an appointment or meeting up with someone.  But when we ask those who are in a relationship, the results are quite different.

In mid-May we asked Canadians in a national survey whether in general, they were early, late, or on time for things.  Forty-eight percent of respondents (48%) said they are usually on time while another 45% said they are usually early.  Seven percent said they are usually late.

Men were only slightly less likely to admit they are usually late than women (men 6% late, women 8% late).

The data also showed that as the age of the respondent increased the likelihood of admitting to being late decreased from only 2% among Canadians 60 and over to 15% among those under 30.

And the question I know you’re all wondering: Which party supporters are more likely to admit to being late?

Well, there isn’t much difference across party supporters.  In fact, the distributions are almost identical across Conservative, NDP, and Liberal supporters.

But what about your partner?  If you’re in a relationship, how would you describe your partner’s time management skills?

Canadians currently in a relationship were not so kind in describing their partner’s tardiness than there own.

Overall, 46% of respondents said their partner is generally on time while another 31% said they are generally early.  But almost one in four Canadians in a relationship said that there partner is usually late – sixteen percentage points higher than the percentage of Canadians who admitted to being late themselves.

On this question, the demographic differences are greater.  Generally speaking, men are more likely to think their partners run late (men 25%, women 20%).  Moreover, the younger you are the more likely you are to believe that your partner is always running late (under 30 37%, 30 to 44 25%, 45 to 59 21%, 60 and over 14%).

In other words, we see ourselves as either running on time or early, but a quarter of us believe our partner’s aren’t so good at managing their time.

One last question: Are those who admit to being late more likely to say their partners generally run late?

  • Among those who say they are usually early and currently in a relationship, 50% describe their partner as being generally early and 17% said their partner is usually late.
  • Among those who say they are usually on time, 59% describe their partner as being usually on time while 25% said their partner is usually late.
  • Among those who say they are usually late, 47% describe their partner as being usually late while 40% said they are usually on time

This means that there isn’t perfect symmetry between how Canadians view their tardiness and that of their partner’s.  But there is a relationship between them.  Those who say they are generally early are more likely to say their partners are generally early while those who are generally late are more likely to say their partners are generally late.

For everyone who has ever waited for their partner to get ready, you are not alone.

By the way, I was inspired to ask this question because my partner seems to have her own time zone and from a YouGov poll in Britain on the same topic.

In April, YouGov asked the exact same questions and found that 51% of Brits said they are usually early while 38% said they are usually on time.  Only 10% admitted to being late.

But when they were asked about their partners, 28% said their partners are usually late.  It seems the patterns across the pond are similar to those here at home.

Have a great weekend!