Household Diary Study

The Postal Service’s Household Diary Study (HDS), con-ducted since 1987, provides information about the con-tents of the mail sent and received by our customers in U.S. households. The Postal Service™ uses this information to help understand why and how customers use the mail. The results are used to:

n Forecast mail volume.

n Plan marketing strategies.

n Provide information for rate-setting purposes.

The HDS is administered at Headquarters by the Office of Demand Forecasting and 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. 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. 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 Atti-tudes. The report is published in hard copy and an elec­tronic file. Order forms for the latest HDS report may be obtained via the Postal Service Internet at householddiary.

For additional information, contact either of the follow-ing 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