Special Report

States Where People Watch the Most TV

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.