TV Viewer Demographics: 65 User Facts & Numbers [2023]

Are you wondering who the typical TV viewer is?

In this post, we take a closer look at the demographics of TV viewers, exploring factors such as age, gender, income, and education level.

Let’s dive in and see what the data tells us about today’s TV audience.

Quick Demographic Facts About TV Viewers

  • There is an estimated 123.8 million TV homes in the United States in 2023.
  • U.S. viewers aged 15 years and older spent on average almost three hours watching TV per day in 2021.
  • Adults aged 65 and above spent the most time watching TV daily in 2021.
  • Traditional TV viewing among 35-49-year-olds fall by 13.3% year-over-year.
  • In 2021, 46% of respondents aged 18 to 29 years stated that they watched dramas on TV.

The numbers indicate a shift in viewing habits across age groups and reveal that traditional TV consumption faces challenges from alternative entertainment options.

Age Demographics of TV Viewers

Age Group Percentage of TV Viewers
18-34 28%
35-49 32%
50-64 23%
65+ 17%
  • U.S. viewers aged 15 years and older spent on average almost three hours watching TV per day in 2021.
  • Adults aged 65 and above spent the most time watching TV among all age groups.
  • The analysis of audiences of 5 networks measured using Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings in September 2018 revealed that 59% of live TV viewers ages 13 and older were in the 55+ group, compared to just 5% who were aged 13-24.
  • The median age of a live TV viewer is 56.
  • A majority of Connected TV (CTV) viewers in the United States in 2022 were between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, with nearly two-thirds of respondents using these devices on a daily basis.
  • Traditional TV viewing among 35-49-year-olds fell by 13.3% year-over-year as per data from Q3 2020.

The data shows a clear variance in TV viewing habits across different age groups, with older audiences favoring live TV while younger viewers gravitate towards CTV platforms.

Here you can check the demographic data for TV show viewers.

TV Viewing Among Kids

  • Traditional TV viewing among 35-49-year-olds fell by 13.3% year-over-year
  • 95% of the TV time that children 7+ spend every day occurs without the company of their parents
  • 56% of kids aged 8+ have a television in their room
  • 30% of these kids usually watch the TV on their own there
  • Only 1 in 12 parents in the US require children to do their homework before turning on the television

Gender Demographics of TV Viewers

Gender Percentage
Male 49%
Female 51%
  • Women spent an average of 2.69 hours per day watching television in 2021, up from 2.64 hours in 2019.
  • Men watched more TV on average than women, with an increase in their average daily viewing.
  • In a survey conducted among U.S. adults in January 2020, women were 9% more likely than men to watch or stream TV shows every day, with 56% reporting daily streaming habits.

We can see that the general TV viewer is a bit older than the average smart TV buyer.

Marital Status of TV Viewers

Marital Status Percentage of TV Viewers
Married 58%
Single 31%
Divorced 9%
Widowed 2%
  • Married couples tend to watch more TV than single individuals, with an average of 2-3 hours per day.
  • Unmarried individuals, including those who never married, divorced, widowed, or separated, watch an average of 1.5-2 hours of TV per day.

TV Viewership Numbers per U.S. State

  • California leads in TV viewership numbers, accounting for approximately 13% of total TV households in the United States.
  • New York follows closely behind with around 6.5% of total US TV households.
  • Other populous states like Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania also contribute significantly to the overall TV viewership numbers across the country.

Ethnicity Demographics of TV Viewers

Ethnicity Percentage of TV Viewers
White 73%
Black or African American 14%
Hispanic or Latino 11%
Asian or Pacific Islander 2%
Other 2%

African Americans watched an average of 3.5 hours of TV each day in 2021, which was the highest among ethnic groups in the United States.

  • Asian Americans spent around half that amount, with roughly 1.75 hours of daily TV consumption.
  • A unique finding in a study on public TV viewership revealed that Detroit Public TV’s reach to African-American households and its Black viewership exceeded that of white audiences.
  • Children’s programming is one of the most popular genres for Detroit Public TV’s African-American audience.
  • During Q3 2020, the age group of 65+ demographic watched an impressive 6 hours and 39 minutes of traditional TV per day.
  • TV consumption among 50-64-year-olds declined by a relatively small 3.3% year-over-year in Q3 2020.

The data showcases the variation in TV consumption patterns among different age groups and ethnic demographics, with African Americans leading in daily TV viewing and older adults having a higher average TV consumption.

Education Level Demographics of TV Viewers

Education Level Percentage of TV Viewers
Less than high school 10%
High school graduate 31%
Some college 22%
College graduate 23%
Post-graduate degree 14%
  • A significant preference for TV news consumption among those with a high school diploma or less education has been noted. In comparison, individuals with higher education levels display a lower preference for obtaining local news through the television set.
  • Interestingly, there is a noteworthy difference in the platforms chosen by various age groups, with individuals aged 50 and older mainly relying on television, while younger demographics (those under 50) lean towards online pathways for local news consumption.
  • In terms of race, Black Americans display a considerably stronger preference for accessing local news through television sets as opposed to other mediums, such as online, print, or radio.
  • When examining the average audience for prime news time slots (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), there was a remarkable 61% increase in viewership for Fox News in 2020, reaching approximately 3.08 million compared to 1.92 million in 2019.

The data emphasizes the varying preferences in news consumption among different education levels, age groups, and races, reflecting the importance of understanding these audiences’ unique characteristics.

Average Income Level of TV Viewers

Income Level Percentage of TV Viewers
Less than $30,000 23%
$30,000-$49,999 24%
$50,000-$74,999 23%
$75,000-$99,999 14%
$100,000 or more 16%

Households with higher income levels watch more traditional TV.

The average time spent watching traditional TV per day in the United States in 2020, for households with an annual income below $30,000, was 195 minutes, while households earning $75,000 or more watched an average of 174 minutes daily.

A few key takeaways from the data indicate that higher-income households watch more traditional TV, and cable news channels were successful in generating significant revenue from advertisers targeting higher-income viewers.

Other Interesting Facts About TV Viewers

  • The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV per day.
  • The percentage of American households with at least one TV is 96.5%.
  • The average American spends 7 years of their life watching TV.
  • The number of TV sets per household in the US is 2.3.
  • The average American household spends $1,200 per year on cable TV.
  • The percentage of Americans who have cut the cord and no longer have cable TV is around 33%.
  • The most-watched TV program of all time is the final episode of MAS*H in 1983, which had 105.9 million viewers.
  • The most-watched TV event of all time is the Super Bowl, which draws an audience of over 100 million viewers each year.
  • The most-watched TV show currently airing is NCIS, with an average of over 11 million viewers per episode.
  • The average length of a TV commercial is 30 seconds.
  • The cost of a 30-second TV ad during the Super Bowl has exceeded $5 million in recent years.
  • The percentage of TV viewers who skip commercials using a DVR is around 50%.
  • The percentage of US households with a DVR is around 50%.
  • The percentage of Americans who watch TV on a streaming service is around 60%.


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