April 17, 2017 (RARC-WP-17-006)

  • While continuing to fall, the overall rate of volume decline for letter mail has slowed substantially in recent years.
  • Business-to-consumer mail like First-Class Mail Presort and Marketing Mail represents a growing portion of total mail volume – over 78 percent in 2015.
  • There is substantial variation at the local, regional, and state levels in how much mail American adults send and receive, and how their use of mail has changed in recent years.

It is no great surprmail use by region mapise to learn that traditional mail volume has been declining for many years. The number of letters sent by American adults has been falling since 1996. The number of bulk mailings received by American adults, such as bills, statements, and advertisements, has been slipping since 2007. But reflective of the diversity of the nation, Americans’ use of the mail has great variation.

While the average number of pieces of single piece First-Class Mail sent by American adults may have fallen 70 percent since 1996, those declines were not felt in the same way in all areas of the United States. Vermonters, for instance, averaged 169 pieces – more than double the national average – in 2015, while New Mexicans averaged just 56 pieces.

Similarly, while the amount of Marketing Mail received by Arizona residents declined by nearly 30 percent since its 2007 peak, the amount received by Louisiana residents fell less than 5 percent over the same period. Nationally, the volume of Marketing Mail dropped nearly 22 percent.

To better understand the changing dynamic of traditional mail use among Americans and look closer at the local peculiarities of mail use, the OIG has analyzed mail volume of 3-digit ZIP Code areas, larger regions, and statewide areas, considering characteristics of the residents, population density, and income.

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Comments (4)

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  • anon

    I've noticed that my local mail carrier does not pickup up or deliver mail at my residence quite often, sometimes 3 days in a week. It's no wonder that the public is using USPS less, it's unreliable and getting worse, while costs keep rising. Keep it up, USPS, and you'll be absorbed by FedEx and UPS (which can only improve things).

    May 06, 2017
  • anon

    I have been trying to call my local post office to make sure the mail carrier do not deliver my package to the wrong address as he previously did on Thursday. No one answers. I called ten times! The 800 number takes two hours or more. Is there a shortage of reliable help? My local post office number is 205 592-2701. What happen to dependable mail service!

    May 05, 2017
  • anon

    I've trying to call the 800 no to report about the delayed of the package I sent but believe me for three successive days I've been trying to contact them, it takes 2 hrs for waiting time to answer the phone. until now, I don't know where my package is, I sent it since april 21, received by the main office on the 23rd until now, nowhere my package is. they just keep telling me that they will investigate but nothing happened. I don't know were to call anymore I hope you have the means of locating my package and pls let me know thru my e-mail

    May 03, 2017
  • anon

    Read that Californians can view their mail online before delivery. I did not see where to enter our zip code and sign up after accessing the website.

    Apr 29, 2017

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Contributors

  • Tyler Reinagel, Ian Stanford, Bill Jusino, and Charles Crum contributed to this report.

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For questions, media inquiries, or to obtain more information regarding this report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286 or by email