U.S. Postal Service by the numbers
The United States Postal Service began on July 26, 1775 with Benjamin Franklin serving as the first postmaster general. Nearly 244 years later, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) remains, though much has changed. Evidence of the evolution of the post office can be seen in mail delivery itself. Since 1863, the mail has been delivered six days a week, but there was a brief threat in 2011 that Saturday delivery would be eliminated. Today, and ever since 2013, the USPS has added Sunday into the mail delivery schedule thanks to a package delivery deal with Amazon.
Stamps have also been a marker of change over time. The first postage stamps in 1847 were either five or 10 cents and carried the visages of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, respectively. Today a first class stamp is 55 cents and comes in a wide array of seasonal and historic design options, including fun options such as the first scratch-and-sniff stamps released in 2018.
There has also been a significant shift in the way mail is delivered since the dawn of the post office. Initially, horses were necessary to move the mail, later replaced by railroads. By 1920, the first transcontinental airmail route was in service. Today U.S. mail is delivered by ground with the help of trucks and postal vehicles and by air with the mutual cooperation of companies from the private sector. Just how many tires does the postal service go through, and what exactly is that agreement with the private sector? How much money did postage actually make for the post office last year, and what about all of those packages?
Stacker wanted to take a closer look at questions like these and at the postal service at large. As familiar as the USPS may be to daily life, there is still so much to learn. Using data provided from the USPS official website, Stacker has compiled this microscopic look into the U.S. Postal Service in 2018, solely using its numbers. How has the post office changed since the days of Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin? The answer is in the numbers.
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31,324 retail USPS post offices
As of 2018, there were 31,324 retail post offices in the U.S. managed by the postal service. This represents a decrease from three years prior in 2015 when there had been 31,606 retail post offices. Online mail services have earned their own place on this list.
838.7 million retail customer visits
A whopping 838.7 million customers visited a retail U.S. post office in 2018. For comparison, the U.S. population was estimated to be 329.10 million that same year. This would average out to every U.S. citizen going to a post office roughly two and a half times.
$12.7 billion retail revenue
All of those visits to the post office (see previous slide) resulted in $12.7 billion in retail revenue. If the post office was not government-run, this revenue would have earned a ranking as the 35th top retailer for 2018, behind AT&T and ahead of Gap.
497,157 career employees
Of the 634,447 total employees of the U.S. Postal Service, 497,157 were career employees in 2018. Career employees receive full employee benefits and privileges, such as health insurance and retirement.
$1.9 billion in salaries and benefits
Every two weeks in 2018, the postal service doled out $1.9 billion in salaries and benefits. Again, that statistic is not for the entire year—that is a payroll bill of $1.9 billion for every two weeks. By the end of the year, the postal service had paid $49.4 billion in salaries and benefits.
The almost 500,000 career employees of the U.S. Postal Service comprise seven different unions that have collective bargaining agreements with the USPS. The largest of these unions is the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), while the most rural of these unions is the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA).
730 million rubber bands
In 2018 the U.S. Postal Service ordered 730 million rubber bands. According the USPS, that is the equivalent of 40,000 miles of rubber bands, which could wrap around Earth 1.6 times.
37 million address changes
Nearly 37 million people submitted address changes to the U.S. Postal Service in 2018. Over 16 million of those address changes were submitted by internet.
3.5 million corporate emails daily
The U.S. Postal Service boasts of a large corporate email system that delivers roughly 3.5 million emails to 222,000 email accounts daily. That number is just the legitimate emails that are transmitted. In a month, the USPS corporate email system also blocks 1.7 million email messages for being spam, 636,000 for content, and 10,000 for being malware.
0 official mottos
If the postal service motto is hard to remember, that is because there is not one. In fact, there has never been a motto. Recently, however, certain postal workers might suggest the motto, “We deliver packages for Amazon until we drop dead.”