Idaho, where I live, likes to brag when it makes lists such as "best places to live," "best places to start a business," etc.

Now we've made another list: we're the most spammed.

According to MessageLabs, which was acquired by Symantec in November, the ten states with the highest percentage of spam are:
1 Idaho 93.8%
2 Kentucky 93.0%
3 New Jersey 92.8%
4 Alabama 91.9%
5 Illinois 91.6%
6 Indiana 91.0%
7 Massachusetts 90.9%
8 Pennsylvania 90.5%
9 Arizona 90.4%
10 (tie) Maryland, 90.3%
North Carolina and
New Mexico

The ten states (and territory) with the lowest percentage of spam are:
1 Puerto Rico
2 Montana
3 Alaska
4 Kansas
5 South Dakota
6 Tennessee
7 Vermont
8 (tie) West Virginia and Rhode Island
9 Wisconsin
10 (tie) Iowa and Florida

MessageLabs did not reveal figures for these areas except for Puerto Rico, at 83.1%.

Why Idaho? MessageLabs wasn't sure. It didn't indicate that Idahoans were particularly gullible about Nigerian princes nor particularly ignorant about anti-spam software (which, no doubt, MessageLabs and Symantec would be happy to sell them).

However, it did have some correlations to point out. "The areas that are subjected to the highest levels of spam are generally those locations that are populated with a higher density of small-to-medium sized businesses."

On the other hand, MessageLabs goes on to add, "Similarly, the least spammed places are often home to some of the largest companies."

Puerto Rico? Montana? Really?

MessageLabs also notes that the most-spammed industries are Marketing, Wholesale, Recreation, Engineering and Real Estate (how can they tell?), while the least spammed are Chemical and Pharmaceutical, followed by Agriculture, Public Sector, Transportation and Healthcare -- which is particularly odd because these least-spammed industries provide a large share of Idaho's employment.

Last year, Idaho was the 44th most-spammed state. In fact, the top three most-spammed states were among the ten least spammed states in 2008.

On the other hand, for all states, the difference between the most- and least-spammed states decreased from 15.1% in 2008 to 10.7% in 2009 -- making reports like this less and less relevant.

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