Household diary

The Household Diary Study (HDS) is a multi-year research study funded by the United States Postal Service. The study surveys a representative sample of over 5,200 households each year (on a government fiscal year basis) to provide a comprehensive and continuous description of the mail originating and destinating in American households.

The study has been ongoing since 1987 and the findings are reported in a report titled "The Household Diary Study". Householders volunteering to participate in the survey are first administered a recruitment questionnaire and then asked to keep a week-long record or "diary" of the mail sent from and received at their residences. Information gathered includes mail class and contents, mail flow between mailing sectors (Household-to-Household, Household-to-Nonhousehold, Nonhousehold-to-Household and Nonhousehold-to-Nonhousehold) and by industry. In addition, the report provides information on household attitudes toward the mail as well as household demographics. See the links below for PDF and HTM versions.


If you have any questions about the Household Diary Study, send them to

Latest reports

Reports for 2013 through the current year are available on the website of the Postal Regulatory Commission. Use the search form in the upper right corner of the page to search for “household diary”.

Prior Years