Americans watch a lot of television, that’s for sure. While baseball has been described as the national pastime, a lot of people watch it on TV. They watch many other things too: cartoons, news, soap operas, reality shows, sitcoms and more.
24/7 Tempo has examined the time people spend watching TV in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The results may be surprising to some. The average time watched per day ranges from a low of just over two hours in Utah to more than four and a half hours in West Virginia. It is important to note this data was collected before the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a good bet that TV viewing hours climbed across the country during the early months of the crisis, when many people were unexpectedly stuck at home.
There are no obvious reasons why people watch twice as much TV in some states as they do in others. Both West Virginia and Utah are fairly rural states with lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Nor are there obvious reasons why people watch what they watch. In the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, for example, the favorite genres are daytime TV, reality TV and sitcoms, respectively. In the District of Columbia, people like sitcoms. Maybe they need a break from politics. In Washington state, however, they like news. Maybe they can’t get enough.
To identify the state where people watch the most TV, 24/7 Tempo obtained the average TV watch time compiled by VerizonSpecials, an online retailer of Verizon products, and Verizon blog. Average time spent watching TV comes from the 2017 American Time Use Survey, and favorite genres were derived from VerizonSpecials’ analysis of Google trends data from January 2018 to December 2018. Total populations come from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2019 one-year estimates.
West Virginia is the state where people watch the most TV. Here are some of the details:
- The average time watched per day is 4 hours, 30 minutes and 54 seconds.
- The favorite genre is soap opera.
- The total population is 1,792,147.