Now this I did not see coming. As a born and bred Midwesterner, I would have guessed that a study of which state swears the most would have led to the usual suspects: New York or New Jersey. Well, according to a study of more than 600,000 phone calls from the last year, the state with the highest use of profanity is . . . Ohio.
The Seattle-based mobile marketing company Marchex looked at largely consumer to business calls, including cable companies and car dealerships. With software programmed to pick up certain words, Ohioans showed the greatest potty mouths of any state with the use of the F-bomb in every 150th call. (The late loss of the Bengals on Sunday to the Bears must have clinched the competition for next year).
Ohio was followed by Maryland (2), New Jersey (3), Louisiana (4), and my birth state of Illinois (5). Louisiana is interesting because much of the state is religious and conservative. My surprise about Illinois is only that I would have assumed New York would have more profane. The New Yorkers may have been given an advantage by not considering traffic swearing, which would have swept away the competition.
Ohioans were twice as likely to swear as folks from Washington state (which used profanity in one in every 300 calls). After Washington, the most polite states were Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas, and Virginia. Frankly, I am a bit surprised about Massachusetts but not Virginia where I have lived for two decades. Virginia is notably polite and swearing remains bad form in the view of many in the state.