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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 to:

• 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

For additional information, contact either of the following individuals:

John Pickett
Telephone: 202-268-2641
Fax: 202-268-6841

John Mazzone
Telephone: 202-268-4169
Fax: 202-268-6841

Study participants may also contact NuStats directly for help or information at 888-441-8777 or

— Office of Demand Forecasting and Economic Analysis,
Finance, 12-21-06