Household Diary Study
The Postal Service's Household Diary Study (HDS),
conducted since 1987, provides information about the contents of the mail sent and received by U.S. households. The
Postal ServiceTM uses this information to help understand
why and how customers use the mail. The results are used
• Forecast mail volume.
• Plan marketing strategies.
• Provide information for rate-setting purposes.
The HDS is administered at Headquarters by the Office
of Demand Forecasting and Economic Analysis, Finance.
NuStats, the HDS survey research firm contractor since
July 1999, conducts the interviews and collects and analyzes the HDS data throughout the year.
HDS is a two-stage survey. Stage 1 is the Household
Interview. NuStats sends an advance letter, signed by the
postmaster general, to a representative sample of U.S.
households. This letter emphasizes the importance of the
HDS and asks for participation. These sample households
are contacted either by telephone or in person and asked
about the mail they send and receive, their adoption and
use of various communications' technologies, their
attitudes about mail service in general, and information
relating to their household and personal demographics.
Those respondent households are recruited to participate
in HDS Stage 2.
Stage 2 is the Mail Diary. NuStats asks households that
agree to participate in Stage 2 to record information about
the mail they send and receive for a 7-day period from
Monday to Sunday. Information recorded includes number
of mailpieces received and sent, industry mail source, mail
characteristics, and attitudes regarding mail received. As
an incentive for HDS Stage 2 participation, households are
offered the options of receiving $30 or a roll of 100 First-
Class Mail stamps.
Customers who participate in Stage 2 of the HDS can
expect to receive their incentive about 2 months after they
return the diary packet to NuStats.
Data gathered in both HDS stages is available in a final
report, The Household Diary Study - Mail Use and
Attitudes. The report is published in hard copy and a free
electronic file. Order forms for the latest HDS report may be
obtained via the Postal Service Internet at www.usps.com/householddiary.
For additional information, contact either of the following
Study participants may also contact NuStats directly for
help or information at 888-441-8777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Office of Demand Forecasting and Economic Analysis,