Here Are the States That Swear the Most

No one enjoys having prolonged chats with customer service reps to get a problem fixed, but some of us tend to be more polite and patient with the folks on the other end. Of course, there are also people who unleash their frustrations in a flurry of expletives at the reps the moment they feel wronged and thanks to a new analysis of millions of chats people have had with customer service pros, we know exactly how polite and swear-happy people are in every state.

No spoilers, but damn, Virginia.

The data was compiled by the company LivePerson, which provides live customer chat and messaging services for nearly 20,000 companies, including biggies like Home Depot, IBM, and Citibank. To figure how peoples' behaviors differ across the country, it analyzed conversations from 500 brands and weighed frequency of both curse words and words associated with politeness, factoring in demographics like location and gender. Overall, the findings suggest that people are more likely to be polite when their name was attached to a chat exchange, and men are 16.5% more likely to curse during a customer service interaction than women. C'mon, guys.

When it comes to states with the most swear-happy residents, Virginia takes the cake by a significant margin, followed by New Mexico, Alaska, Iowa, and Utah.

most customer service swears

Here's the full breakdown (including Washington, DC), from most curse-prone to least:

51. Hawaii
50. Louisiana
49. Minnesota
48. Mississippi
47. South Carolina
46. Vermont
45. New Hampshire
44. Arkansas
43. Colorado
42. Delaware
41. North Carolina
40. Florida
39. Oregon
38. Missouri
37. Alabama
36. New Jersey
35. Nebraska
34. Maine
33. Georgia
32. Nevada
31. Tennesee
30. Arizona
29. New York
28. Kansas
27. Oklahoma
26. Kentucky
25. Texas
24. Connecticut
23. Pennsylvania
22. California
21. Massachusetts
20. Montana
19. Illinois
18. Ohio
17. Maryland
16. Michigan
15. Rhode Island
14. South Dakota
13. West Virginia
12. Indiana
11. Wyoming
10. Wisconsin
9. Washington, D.C.
8. Idaho
7. North Dakota
6. Washington
5. Utah
4. Iowa
3. Alaska
2. New Mexico
1. Virginia

In terms of the specific language tracked, LivePerson divided swear words into both "hard" and "soft" categories, which altogether spanned everything from f*ck, sh*t, and b*tch to mofo, poop, arse, and sheesh. The top five "hard" swears include were f*ck, sh*t, hell, damn, and ass, while the top five on the "soft" side were stupid, shoot, goodness, suck, and crap.

most polite states

To determine the most polite states, they took into account the frequency of the terms please, thank, lovely, appreciate, kindly, pardon, and no problem. In several cases, a particularly sweary state turned out to also be one of the most polite (looking at you, Idaho). Here's how the rankings fall, from most polite to least:

51: Alaska
50: Wyoming
49. South Dakota
48. Colorado
47. Iowa
46. Hawaii
45. Oregon
44. New Mexico
43. Arizona
42. Nebraska
41. Minnesota
40. Utah
39. Missouri
38. Kansas
37. Mississippi
36. Arkansas
35. Nevada
34. North Carolina
33. New Jersey
32. Washington
31. Florida
30. Delaware
29. South Carolina
28. Texas
27. Tennessee
26. Montana
25. Virginia
24. New York
23. Georgia
22. Rhode Island
21. Washington, D.C.
20. California
19. Maryland
18. Ohio
17. Illinois
16. Oklahoma
15. Michigan
14. Kentucky
13. Connecticut
12. Massachusetts
11. Indiana
10. Pennsylvania
9. Alabama
8. West Virginia
7. New Hampshire
6. Louisiana
5. Wisconsin
4. Vermont
3. North Dakota
2. Maine
1. Idaho

Besides ranking states by their vocabulary, the analysis also looked at how customers behaved based on the type of company they were dealing with. For instance, people were most polite when interacting with service pros in the pharmaceutical, consulting, banking, energy, and financial services industries. Conversely, it found industries you might expect to encounter more friendly people -- charities, foundations, and nonprofits -- had the least polite customers. 

So next time you're tempted to rip the head off of whatever poor soul is tasked with helping you with your problem, just remember: somebody's watching.

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.