Special Report

States Where People Watch the Most TV

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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 a lot of other things too — cartoons, news, soap operas, reality shows, sitcoms, etc. (Here are the best classic TV shows available to stream.)

24/7 Wall St. has ranked the TV watch time in all 50 States and Washington D.C. 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’s 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 aren’t obvious reasons why people watch twice as much TV in some states as they do in others. At the top of the list is West Virginia and at the bottom is Utah, both fairly rural states with lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation. (These are the 25 best cities for active people.)

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 Washington, D.C. 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 states where people watch the most TV, 24/7 Tempo obtained the average TV watch time compiled by Verizonspecials.com, an online retailer of Verizon products and Verizon blog. Average time spent watching TV comes from the 2017 American Time Use Survey, and favorite genre was derived from Verizonspecials.com’s analysis of Google trends data from January 2018 to December 2018. Total population comes from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2019 1-year estimates.

Click here to see the states where people watch the most TV.

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51. Utah
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 13 min, 55 sec
> Favorite genre: Animated Cartoon
> Total population: 3,205,958

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50. Maine
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 17 min, 37 sec
> Favorite genre: Cooking Show
> Total population: 1,344,212

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

49. Vermont
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 19 min, 43 sec
> Favorite genre: Late-Night Talk Show
> Total population: 623,989

Source: volvob12b / Flickr

48. Alaska
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 20 min, 24 sec
> Favorite genre: Soap Opera
> Total population: 731,545

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47. Colorado
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 28 min, 22 sec
> Favorite genre: News
> Total population: 5,758,736

Source: Eric Tessmer / Wikimedia Commons

46. Hawaii
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 32 min, 58 sec
> Favorite genre: News
> Total population: 1,415,872

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45. Minnesota
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 33 min, 50 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 5,639,632

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44. Washington
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 35 min, 15 sec
> Favorite genre: News
> Total population: 7,614,893

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43. Montana
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 36 min, 39 sec
> Favorite genre: News
> Total population: 1,068,778

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42. California
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 39 min, 3 sec
> Favorite genre: News
> Total population: 39,512,223

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

41. Wisconsin
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 39 min, 9 sec
> Favorite genre: ESPN
> Total population: 5,822,434

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40. New Hampshire
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 40 min, 22 sec
> Favorite genre: Children’s TV Series
> Total population: 1,359,711

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

39. Connecticut
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 41 min, 3 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 3,565,287

Source: 4nadia / Getty Images

38. Oregon
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 46 min, 23 sec
> Favorite genre: Animated Cartoon
> Total population: 4,217,737

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37. Rhode Island
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 47 min, 26 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 1,059,361

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

36. North Carolina
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 50 min, 50 sec
> Favorite genre: Soap Opera
> Total population: 10,488,084

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35. New Mexico
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 52 min, 6 sec
> Favorite genre: Animated Cartoon
> Total population: 2,096,829

Source: FilippoBacci / Getty Images

34. New York
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 52 min, 31 sec
> Favorite genre: Daytime TV
> Total population: 19,453,561

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

33. Maryland
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 53 min, 23 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 6,045,680

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32. Virginia
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 54 min, 3 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 8,535,519

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

31. Kansas
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 56 min, 30 sec
> Favorite genre: ESPN
> Total population: 2,913,314

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30. Tennessee
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 56 min, 36 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 6,829,174

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29. Idaho
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 56 min, 41 sec
> Favorite genre: Cooking Show
> Total population: 1,787,065

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28. Washington, D.C.
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 57 min, 9 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 705,749

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27. Arizona
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 57 min, 36 sec
> Favorite genre: News
> Total population: 7,278,717

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

26. Massachusetts
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 57 min, 52 sec
> Favorite genre: Children’s TV Series
> Total population: 6,892,503

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25. Nebraska
> Avg time watched per day: 2 hrs, 59 min, 41 sec
> Favorite genre: ESPN
> Total population: 1,934,408

Source: EunikaSopotnicka / Getty Images

24. South Dakota
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 2 min, 21 sec
> Favorite genre: Children’s TV Series
> Total population: 884,659

Source: pawel.gaul / Getty Images

23. Michigan
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 2 min, 22 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 9,986,857

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Source: f11photo / Getty Images

22. Missouri
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 2 min, 37 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 6,137,428

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

21. Indiana
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 4 min, 35 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 6,732,219

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20. Texas
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 4 min, 35 sec
> Favorite genre: Telenovela
> Total population: 28,995,881

Source: pabradyphoto / Getty Images

19. Iowa
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 7 min, 56 sec
> Favorite genre: ESPN
> Total population: 3,155,070

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

18. Illinois
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 8 min, 3 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 12,671,821

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

17. Pennsylvania
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 13 min, 50 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 12,801,989

Source: aoldman / Getty Images

16. Wyoming
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 14 min, 32 sec
> Favorite genre: News
> Total population: 578,759

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Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

15. Ohio
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 19 min, 40 sec
> Favorite genre: ESPN
> Total population: 11,689,100

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

14. New Jersey
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 19 min, 55 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 8,882,190

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

13. Kentucky
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 21 min, 29 sec
> Favorite genre: ESPN
> Total population: 4,467,673

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

12. Florida
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 21 min, 39 sec
> Favorite genre: Telenovela
> Total population: 21,477,737

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

11. South Carolina
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 22 min, 23 sec
> Favorite genre: Soap Opera
> Total population: 5,148,714

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

10. Arkansas
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 24 min, 52 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 3,017,804

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

9. Georgia
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 26 min, 29 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 10,617,423

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

8. Alabama
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 27 min, 25 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 4,903,185

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

7. Mississippi
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 29 min, 20 sec
> Favorite genre: Soap Opera
> Total population: 2,976,149

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

6. North Dakota
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 34 min, 29 sec
> Favorite genre: Sitcom
> Total population: 762,062

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5. Nevada
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 34 min, 53 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 3,080,156

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

4. Oklahoma
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 36 min, 34 sec
> Favorite genre: Animated Cartoon
> Total population: 3,956,971

3. Louisiana
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 41 min, 20 sec
> Favorite genre: Soap Opera
> Total population: 4,648,794

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Source: mdgmorris / Getty Images

2. Delaware
> Avg time watched per day: 3 hrs, 47 min, 9 sec
> Favorite genre: Reality TV
> Total population: 973,764

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

1. West Virginia
> Avg time watched per day: 4 hrs, 30 min, 54 sec
> Favorite genre: Soap Opera
> Total population: 1,792,147

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