More than 600,000 phone calls were analyzed to assess the most profane – and polite – states

By Alex Heigl
December 04, 2013 09:00 AM
Courtesy Marchex

How profane are you in your day-to-day, on a scale of Pulp Fiction to It’s A Wonderful Life? And how do you stack up compared to others in your state? In the rest of the country?

Assessing that was the goal of Marchex, a mobile advertising technology company based in Seattle. Marchex analyzed the data from more than 600,000 phone calls made during the past 12 months, then crunched the numbers to identify the most (and least) profanity-laced states in the U.S.

The big reveal? Ohio “wins” as the most profane state in the country, where one out of about every 150 phone conversations manages to drop expletives. Ohioans were followed by Maryland, New Jersey, Louisiana and Illinois, respectively.

The least profane were, in descending order, Washington, Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas and Virginia.

Marchex also tracked occurrences of words that indicated courtesy and politeness: “Please” and “thank you.” (Just like mother taught us.) The most courteous state? South Carolina, followed by North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana and Georgia. (Louisianans and Marylanders are apparently a courteous and profane bunch.)

Marchex data on politeness and rudeness
Courtesy Marchex

The rudest states? Wisconsin, Massachusetts (despite their lack of profanity), Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio. (Attention Ohio Tourist Board: Do with the data as you will.)

Among Marchex’s other findings: 66 percent of curse words came from men, calls in the morning are twice as likely to feature profanity, and the calls that contain the most expletives last longer than 10 minutes – apparently, extra length equals extra profanity.

The lessons to be learned? Don’t ever call a man from Ohio early in the morning. And don’t keep him on the phone for longer than 10 minutes.