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How Much does It Cost to Deliver Mail?

In 2009, it cost about $235 per residence to deliver the U.S. mail. Even though the United States Postal Service (USPS) faces competition from several mailing companies and from e-mail, about 177 billion pieces of mail were processed through the USPS in 2009 — that's about 584 million per day. In addition to processing mail, the USPS also processes passports — about 7.3 million in 2009, and money orders, about 135 million that year.

Other fun postal facts:

  • The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) revenue in 2009: $68.09 billion

  • Its net income that same year: $-3.79 billion

  • Benjamin Franklin established the first post office in 1775, the USPO.

  • In 1792, it became part of the U.S. Cabinet and was called the United States Post Office Department, or U.S.P.O.D.

  • While part of the Cabinet, the Postmaster General was last in line to take the U.S. presidential office in case of emergency.

  • Mail was delivered seven days per week until 1912.

  • The USPS didn't become an independent operation until the early 1980s — until that time, it received tax-payer money.

  • In 2009, the USPS employed 656,000 people — the second largest employer in the U.S., next to Walmart.

  • The USPS is considered a law enforcement agency: it protects all facets of the U.S. mail system from crime and misuse.

  • More than 200 U.S. federal laws regulate and protect the U.S. mail system.

  • The USPS can enforce its monopoly: in 1993 it raided the Equifax offices — a U.S. credit reporting agency — to find out if the overnight mail Equifax was sending through a competitor was truly urgent. It was not, and Equifax was fined $30,000 US Dollars.

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