Insights » How Much Are Cable and Internet Bills for US Households?

How Much Are Cable and Internet Bills for US Households?

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The average household in the United States owns 11 connected devices. But how much are Americans paying to stay connected? doxoINSIGHTS breaks down the amount that households pay for cable and internet bills. doxo’s U.S. Cable and Internet Market Size and Household Spending report analyzes the numbers at the national, state and city levels, both in terms of overall market size and average cost per household at both the monthly and annual levels.

Check the full U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2021 for additional details on national bill payments, and how much cable and internet costs in comparison to other regular expenses, like utilities, rent, auto insurance, mobile phone costs, and five more key household bill pay categories. It also breaks down the scale of the cable and internet industry market size: $147 billion spent in the US per year on the bill category, out of the $4.4 trillion total that Americans spend on household bills.

How much is the average US cable and internet bill?

doxoINSIGHTS’ report on the industry reveals that the average American household spends $116 a month on cable and internet services. Also, 82% of households pay a combined cable and internet bill in the first place. This brings the average annual cable and internet cost per US household is $1,141.

Costs for the Average US Household
Average Monthly Cable and Internet Bill% of Households w/ Cable and Internet BillAverage Annual Cable and Internet Expenses per HH

doxoINSIGHTS does not distinguish between cable and internet costs, but rather covers combined expenses from cable, satellite and internet bills. With the rise of streaming applications, entertainment via television and the internet are becoming more intertwined than ever. As more and more consumers wonder whether they should cut the cord, still others are realizing how expensive owning several streaming platforms can be. There is also the “tech headache” factor, expert Howard Dvorkin tells US News and World Report: the friction involved in managing multiple profiles and accounts as opposed to a single one.

Pew Research reported earlier this year that popularity of watching television via cable or satellite services has declined precipitously since 2015, from 76% to 56%. Among the Pew respondents who do not use cable or satellite to watch television, 69% said the cost of services is too high, and 45% claim they do not often watch television.

“It appears that these percentages of people relying on cable and satellite for TV access are likely to decrease as older generations get older and the younger generations begin to dominate the population,” Wealth Daily analyst Monica Savaglia writes.

These ongoing conversations make doxo’s data even more relevant, as it tracks not only average costs of cable and internet but also how prevalent cable and internet bills are in specific areas. Below, see a breakdown of cable and internet costs across the most and least expensive states, major metro areas, and smaller cities and towns.

Alaska is the most expensive state for cable and internet spending

Alaska tops the list of the five most expensive states for cable and internet costs, with an average monthly bill of $148. New Hampshire ranks a close second place, at $147 per household. New Hampshire’s next-door neighbor Vermont comes in third place, with other east coast states, New York and New Jersey, rounding out the top 5. All but Alaska are on the east cost, where cost of living is notoriously higher than most other places in the country. The massive size of Alaska and remoteness of many of its rural communities has made the provision of fast internet challenging for telecoms, though legislation is aiming to change that.

Prevalence of cable and internet bills across households varies considerably between these states, with a gap of 19% between New Jersey (65% of households have the bill) and New Hampshire (84% of households).

5 Most Expensive States

Rank (1-51)State*Average Monthly Bill% of Households w/ BillAverage Annual Expenses per HH
2New Hampshire$14784%$1,762
4New York$13272%$1,580
5New Jersey$13065%$1,562

*From rankings of all US states + the District of Columbia. See full report, page 7 for complete state rankings.

States located in the West and Central areas of the country take up the five most affordable slots on the list. South Dakota cable and internet expenses are the lowest, at $92 a month, followed by Idaho ($93). New Mexico ($97) and Utah ($98) come next, neighbors in both Four Corners as well as average cable and internet expenses per household. Nebraska rounds out the group at $99, meaning households in all five most affordable states pay less than $100 a month.

5 Most Affordable States

Rank (1-51)StateAverage Monthly Bill% of Households w/ BillAverage Annual Expenses per HH
49New Mexico$9783%$1,158
51South Dakota$9288%$1,108

New York City is the most expensive major metro for cable and internet bills

Like in the group of most expensive states, the Northeast is well represented in the list of most expensive major metros to pay cable and internet bills in. New York City comes in on top, at an average of $133 a month, $17 higher than the national average of $116. Boston comes in second, at $129 a month, after which St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Kansas City follow.

5 Most Expensive Major Metros

Rank (1-25)MetroAverage Monthly Bill% of Households w/ BillAverage Annual Expenses per HH
1New York, NY$13367%$1,593
2Boston, MA$12966%$1,552
3St. Louis, MO$12589%$1,503
4Los Angeles, CA$12384%$1,479
5Kansas City, MO$12179%$1,448

From rankings of 25 most populous metros in the US. See report page 18 for complete metro rankings.

The least expensive cities for cable and internet services are in scattered locations across the US map. Salt Lake City, Utah is the only major metro to have average household costs at less than $100 a month. Miami and Minneapolis are both tied at $101, followed by Philadelphia and Denver.

Miami has a much larger subscription rate than the other cities on this list, at 89% compared to the others, which hover closer to 70% on average.

The range between the most and least expensive states is far lower than the range most and least expensive states. While the difference between cable and internet costs in South Dakota and Alaska is almost $60, but the gap between Salt Lake City and New York is $35. Competition between providers is the major factor that drives cable and internet prices in a location: major metro areas may have a more similar degree of competition between telecoms in comparison to the 50 states on average, with certain states being far more heavily rural than others.

5 Most Affordable Major Metros

Rank (1-25)Metro*Average Monthly Bill% of Households w/ BillAverage Annual Expenses per HH
21Denver, CO$10875%$1,292
22Philadelphia, PA$10667%$1,269
23Minneapolis, MN$10173%$1,213
24Miami, FL$10189%$1,209
25Salt Lake City, UT$9870%$1,176

Ocean City is the most expensive town for cable and internet bills

Among the smaller cities and towns ranked by doxoINSIGHTS, another Northeast town, New Jersey’s Ocean City takes the most expensive spot in the rankings with an average monthly bill of $184. Lebanon, New Hampshire bills are $169 a month, followed by Tupelo, Mississippi, Kankakee, Illinois, and Barnstable Town, Massachusetts.

5 Most Expensive Smaller Cities

Rank (1-373)City / Town*Average Monthly Bill% of Households w/ BillAverage Annual Expenses per HH
1Ocean City, NJ$18467%$2,213
2Lebanon, NH$16996%$2,028
3Tupelo, MS$16483%$1,973
4Kankakee, IL$16366%$1,954
5Barnstable Town, MA$16266%$1,940

*Ranked among the 373 US Census Bureau Core Based Statistical Areas with populations over 40,000. See report page 20 for complete list.

*Ranked among the 373 US Census Bureau Core Based Statistical Areas with populations over 40,000. See report page 20 for complete list.

5 Most Affordable Smaller Cities

The most affordable smaller city at the bottom of the rankings is Ann Arbor, Michigan, where residents can expect to pay $74 a month in cable and internet costs on average: well under half of what Ocean City, New Jersey households pay per month. St. Cloud, Minnesota is the second most affordable, followed by Manhattan, Kansas, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Lincoln, Nebraska.

Rank (1-373)City / Town*Average Monthly Bill% of Households w/ BillAverage Annual Expenses per HH
21Lincoln, NE$8175%$969
22Harrisonburg, VA$7964%$954
23Manhattan, KS$7974%$948
24St. Cloud, MN$7573%$896
25Ann Arbor, MI$7487%$886

Market size and more: the scale of the industry

The full Cable and Internet report contains more detailed data as well, including industry market size rankings in all the different geographical divisions broken down above. Also see more details on how cable and internet spending stacks up in comparison to other household bill costs, such as utilities and mobile phone.

The numbers above and from the full report are drawn from anonymized data from doxo’s 5 million users paying over 100,000 billers across more than 30,000 zip codes in the United States. Read more about doxoINSIGHTS’ methodology here.