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How Millennials Can Save the Postal Service

A new report suggests snail mail makes young adults feel special. USPS sees that as a chance to stage a turnaround.
Millennials might not use the Postal Service as much as older generations, but they feel surprisingly good about it.
Millennials might not use the Postal Service as much as older generations, but they feel surprisingly good about it.Paul Sakuma/AP

One reason snail mail feels so good to receive is because it wasn’t easy to send. When a letter lands in your mailbox, you know the mailer put thought into it—writing a note, scrounging up stamps and an envelope, and seeking out a blue box to drop it in. Paradoxically, it’s that same effort that makes the U.S. Postal Service less and less appealing to use.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that the rise of the internet hasn’t been great for the Postal Service. Americans are sending less mail than they used to, with overall volume falling 43 percent since 2001. That decline is especially pronounced among Millennials. In 2001, Gen X-ers between the ages of 18 and 34 received 17 pieces of mail per week. By 2017, that number fell to 10 pieces of mail for Millennials in the same age range.