It’s no secret Americans like their TV. Original scripted TV series have skyrocketed 69% since 2012h, and a record-breaking 495 scripted series aired in 2018. With this influx of quality TV—and streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu reaching an ever-climbing audience—one thing’s clear: TV is one of America’s most popular pastimes.

But how much TV do Americans actually watch? The team at verizonspecials.com dug into national statistics to determine which states watch the most and least TV. So as you await the highly anticipated season premieres competing for top ratings this year—such as Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Part 2 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, or Season 3 of Stranger Things—take a peek at the rankings below to find out whether your state’s TV-watching habits match your neighbors’.

Methodology

To determine where states ranked on the list of most-watched TV and least-watched TV, the team at verizonspecials.com looked at “TV watch-time data” from the 2017 American Time Use Survey. The team then found each state’s favorite TV genre using search data from Google Trends between January 2018 and December 2018.

Interesting Findings

  • “Sitcom” is the most popular TV genre in the US. Nine states—and Washington, D.C.—prefer these short comedies over any other category.
  • Western states—along with Minnesota, Vermont, and Maine—lead the US in least-watched TV.
  • West Virginians watch TV an average of 4.5 hours a day, adding up to 1,642.5 hours a year. In that amount of time, you could watch all eight seasons of Friends 13 times.
  • The four states with the most national parks—California and Alaska, which each have 8; Utah, which has 5; and Colorado, which has 4—watch significantly less TV than the rest of the country. Could they be too busy being outside to watch TV?
  • Reality shows are the biggest hits in the states that host them, including Nevada, which hosts Pawn Stars; Georgia, which hosts Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta and The Real Housewives of Atlanta; and New Jersey, which hosts Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
  • Kids under age 20 only make up 20% of Massachusetts’ population, yet the most popular genre is children’s programming. Perhaps the Boston filmings of kids’ shows Zoom and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody play a role.

Top 10 States That Watch the Most TV

Rank State Avg. Hr:Min:SecWatched Per Day Favorite TV Genre
1 West Virginia 4:30:54 Soap Opera
2 Delaware 3:47:09 Reality TV
3 Louisiana 3:41:20 Soap Opera
4 Oklahoma 3:36:34 Animated Cartoon
5 Nevada 3:34:53 Reality TV
6 North Dakota 3:34:29 Sitcom
7 Mississippi 3:29:20 Soap Opera
8 Alabama 3:27:25 Sitcom
9 Georgia 3:26:29 Reality TV
10 Arkansas 3:24:52 Sitcom

Top 10 States That Watch the Least TV

Rank State Avg. Hr:Min:SecWatched Per Day Favorite TV Genre
1 Utah 2:13:55 Animated Cartoon
2 Maine 2:17:37 Cooking Show
3 Vermont 2:19:43 Late-Night Talk Show
4 Alaska 2:20:24 Soap Opera
5 Colorado 2:28:22 News
6 Hawaii 2:32:58 News
7 Minnesota 2:33:50 Sitcom
8 Washington 2:35:15 News
9 Montana 2:36:39 News
10 California 2:39:03 News

TV Watch Time in All 50 States + Washington, D.C.

State Avg. Hr:Min:Sec Watched Per Day Favorite TV Genre
Utah 2:13:55 Animated Cartoon
Maine 2:17:37 Cooking Show
Vermont 2:19:43 Late-Night Talk Show
Alaska 2:20:24 Soap Opera
Colorado 2:28:22 News
Hawaii 2:32:58 News
Minnesota 2:33:50 Sitcom
Washington 2:35:15 News
Montana 2:36:39 News
California 2:39:03 News
Wisconsin 2:39:09 ESPN
New Hampshire 2:40:22 Children’s TV Series
Connecticut 2:41:03 Sitcom
Oregon 2:46:23 Animated Cartoon
Rhode Island 2:47:26 Reality TV
North Carolina 2:50:50 Soap Opera
New Mexico 2:52:06 Animated Cartoon
New York 2:52:31 Daytime TV
Maryland 2:53:23 Reality TV
Virginia 2:54:03 Reality TV
Kansas 2:56:30 ESPN
Tennessee 2:56:36 Reality TV
Idaho 2:56:41 Cooking Show
Washington, D.C. 2:57:09 Sitcom
Arizona 2:57:36 News
Massachusetts 2:57:52 Children’s TV Series
Nebraska 2:59:41 ESPN
South Dakota 3:02:21 Children’s TV Series
Michigan 3:02:22 Sitcom
Missouri 3:02:37 Sitcom
Indiana 3:04:35 Sitcom
Texas 3:04:35 Telenovela
Iowa 3:07:56 ESPN
Illinois 3:08:03 Sitcom
Pennsylvania 3:13:50 Reality TV
Wyoming 3:14:32 News
Ohio 3:19:40 ESPN
New Jersey 3:19:55 Reality TV
Kentucky 3:21:29 ESPN
Florida 3:21:39 Telenovela
South Carolina 3:22:23 Soap Opera
Arkansas 3:24:52 Sitcom
Georgia 3:26:29 Reality TV
Alabama 3:27:25 Sitcom
Mississippi 3:29:20 Soap Opera
North Dakota 3:34:29 Sitcom
Nevada 3:34:53 Reality TV
Oklahoma 3:36:34 Animated Cartoon
Louisiana 3:41:20 Soap Opera
Delaware 3:47:09 Reality TV
West Virginia 4:30:54 Soap Opera

By Scott Harvey