Department & Division News

Things You Should Know About the U.S.Postal Service

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine) 

By Research & Education Director Joyce Robinson 

As you are aware, the Postal Service delivers to residential and business addresses across the country. However, there may be many facts about the Postal Service you may not know. Listed below are a few:

  • The Postal Service receives NO tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
  • The U.S. Postal Service employs more than 700,000 people and more than 113,000 veterans.
  • The Postal Service has the country’s largest retail network – larger than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart combined, domestically.
  • The Postal Service processes and delivers nearly half of the world’s mail – 47 percent.
  • More than 200 federal laws protect the sanctity of the U.S. mail. These laws are enforced by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the country.
  • UPS and FedEx pay the USPS to deliver hundreds of millions of their ground packages to residences.
  • The Postal Service has more than 227,000 vehicles, one of the largest civilian fleets in the world.

Non-Traditional Mail Delivery Methods

The Postal Service moves the mail by many avenues, a few non-traditional delivery methods are:

  • Mule Train Delivery – The Peach Springs Post Office in Arizona has walk-in freezers for food, destined for delivery to the bottom of the Grand Canyon by mule train.
  • Boat Delivery to Ships on the River – The JW Westcott is a 45-foot contract mail boat out of Detroit, MI that delivers mail to passing ships and has its own zip code – 48222.
  • Dock-to-Dock Delivery – In Magnolia Springs, AL, a 15-foot contract mail boat delivers to 176 dock-side mailboxes on a 31-mile stretch of the river.
  • Boat or Float Plane Delivery – The Point Roberts Post Office in Washington state can only be reached by car, driving through British Columbia, Canada. Only a boat or float plane can travel directly there.
  • Cave Delivery – Stamp Fulfillment Services, located in Kansas City, MO, is located in a limestone cave, 150 feet underground. It is the Postal Service’s only facility located in such a subterranean environment.

Facts About Postage Stamps

In 2016, the Postal Service received $434 million in revenue from stamps and stamp products.

  • Semi-postal stamps are First-Class Mail stamps sold by the Postal Service at a price above the cost of a regular stamp. These stamps raise money for causes designated by Congress.
  • Four semi-postal stamps have been issued to date: Breast Cancer Research (1998), Heroes of 2001 (2002), Stop Family Violence (2003) and Save Vanishing Species (2011).
  • The Breast Cancer Research semi-postal stamp has raised more than $83.7 million.
  • The Save Vanishing Species semi-postal stamp has raised more than $3.6 million to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds.
  • The first woman featured on a U.S. postage stamp was Queen Isabella in 1893.
  • The first American woman featured was Martha Washington in 1902.
  • The first Hispanic-American featured on a U.S. postage stamp was Admiral David Farragut in 1903.
  • The first Native American to be featured on a stamp was Pocahontas in 1907.
  • The first African-American to be featured on a U.S. postage stamp was Booker T. Washington in 1940.

Regardless of geographic location, anyone can send a letter – for just 50 cents – to anywhere in the U.S., its territories and U.S. military worldwide. Send a letter or card today and support the greatest postal service in the world! 

Resource: Postal Facts 2017