Marchex Data Reveals Ohioans Curse the Most in the Country; Washingtonians the Least

By Sonia Krishnan, Director of Corporate Communications for Marchex

Are you f*&!ing serious?

cursingAs a native Buckeye who’s lived in Washington for eight years, this was my first reaction to the data analysis released today by our Marchex Institute, which found that people in Ohio curse the most in the country.  Washingtonians, by contrast, curse the least. (WTF?)

The data also placed Ohioans in the Top 5 “Least Courteous” category. Apparently, residents there have a harder time saying “please” and “thank you,” which were the keywords that Marchex’s Call Mining technology scanned for when aggregating data on pleasantries.

It’s fascinating stuff. And it coincides with National Etiquette Week, a seven-day ‘gentle reminder,’ if you will, to be civil and courteous to one another.

The Institute, Marchex’s data and research team, examined more than 600,000 phone calls from the past 12 months. The calls were placed by consumers to businesses across 30 industries, including cable and satellite companies, auto dealerships, pest control centers and more.

The Institute scanned for curse words from A to F to S. Analysts then linked the frequency of those words with all 50 states.

Following Washington in the “Goody Two Shoes” category – states where people are least likely to curse – were Massachusetts (2nd place), Arizona (3rd place), Texas (4th place), Virginia (5th place).

Ranking behind Ohio in the “Sailors” category – states where people are most likely to curse – were: Maryland (2nd place), New Jersey (3rd place), Louisiana (4th place), Illinois (5th place).

Ohioans curse more than twice the rate of Washingtonians, according to the data. Washingtonians curse about every 300 conversations. Ohioans, on the other hand, swore about every 150 conversations.

The data also found that:

  • 66% of curses come from men
  • The calls that contain the most cursing are more than 10 minutes long. So the longer someone is on the phone, the more likely that call is to devolve.
  • Calls in the morning are twice as likely to produce cursing as calls in the afternoon or evening.

The Institute also aggregated state-by-state data on who says “please” and “thank you” the most. The Top 5 “Most Courteous” states were: South Carolina (1st place), North Carolina (2nd place), Maryland (3rd place), Louisiana (4th place), and Georgia (5th place).

(Anyone else sense a Southern hospitality theme here?)

Washington didn’t make the Top 5 for Most Courteous, but it did rank in the top third of the country for saying “please” and “thank you.”

The Top 5 “Least Courteous” states were: Wisconsin (1st place), Massachusetts (2nd place), Indiana (3rd place), Tennessee (4th place), and Ohio (5th place).

This, I suppose, bears repeating: Ohio was the only state to find itself in the “Sailor” and “Least Courteous” categories.

“Ohio’s state slogan used to be ‘The Heart of it All,’” said John Busby, Senior Vice President of the Marchex Institute. “One could argue this data adds an extra layer of meaning to that phrase.”

You could also argue Ohioans are simply transparent, passionate people. Maybe we do curse a little more and maybe we don’t mind our Ps and Qs as much as we should. So what? At least you know how we feel.

So Washington, take your “Least Likely to Curse” title and allow me to remind you of two chilling words: Seattle Freeze.

‘Nuff said.

— Sonia Krishnan


Marchex is a mobile advertising technology company. We provide a suite of products for businesses that depend on consumer phone calls to drive sales. Our mobile advertising platform delivers new customer phone calls to businesses, while our technology analyzes the data in these calls to improve ad campaign results.

Posted in Data, Marchex Institute
124 comments on “Marchex Data Reveals Ohioans Curse the Most in the Country; Washingtonians the Least
  1. amber says:

    I have the interesting experience to have grown up in Wisconsin and now live in Washington and my coworker is from Ohio. I can definitely say that I think it depends on the area in Washington. I’m in a low socioeconomic section and hear a lot of swearing, but overall it’s fairly comparable to Wisconsin. And my coworker swears a TON more than most (even in professional settings). Personally, I am really uncomfortable around swearing and almost never say it myself. As far as the politeness thing…that’s interesting. Not saying it as often as I should is actually one of my pet peeves about myself. Saying my pleases and thank yous as a child was uncomfortable. And on occasion I still find it hard to thank someone sincerely. It’s not that I’m ungrateful, but I just didn’t really grow up having to express gratitude verbally that often. I would go far as to say, Wisconsinites even feel slightly weird when someone takes time to thank us sincerely.

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  6. Keith M. says:

    As a native Wisconsinite, I was surprised by these results. I thought we should have been high on the polite scale the other way around!

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