It’s only happened once before, but it’s happening again: fewer Americans will own TV sets in 2012 than they did in 2011. The only other time that TV ownership has gone down before was in 1992. Currently, there are 115.9 million American households with TV sets — by next year that is expected to drop to 114.7. That may not seem like a huge drop, but this is taking into account the fact that the American population is growing.
Much of the drop seems attributable to younger households — those headed by someone between the ages of 18 and 49 expect to stop owning a TV at three times the national average. This shouldn’t be that surprising. Young people have already taken the lead in dropping environmentally unfriendly technologies.
There are a lot of potential reasons why TV ownership is dropping: it could be because younger people are more conscious about their environmental impact; younger people are harder hit by the recession and cannot afford TVs; or traditional TVs are being displaced by computer streaming services like Hulu and Netflix.
Unfortunately, though, the report also highlights growing inequality of consumption. While many people are getting rid of TVs or simply not buying new ones, a lot of households that already own them are buying more. The average TV-owning household now has more than three sets in the house.
Indeed, 56% of those households with TVs own 3 or more, up from 55% last year and 41% just over a decade ago. This means that although a lot of households are reducing their carbon footprint (and dependence on TV), this may be offset by those who want several TVs in the home.
Photo credit: jerine's Flickr stream.