By Eric Katz
May 23, 2013
Nearly all Internet-enabled Americans would feel the impact of the elimination of the U.S. Postal Service, according to a recent survey, though only about half would be significantly impacted.
The online survey, conducted by the USPS inspector general’s office, found Americans poorly educated about the details of the nation’s mailing agency but supportive of its continued existence. Ninety-five percent of respondents said their lives would be affected if the Postal Service ceased to exist in five years.
Eight in 10 respondents said USPS should continue to serve all areas of the country -- as it is currently required to do -- even if it is not profitable. About half that many opposed eliminating Saturday delivery. Just more than half of respondents prefer getting all or most of their mail physically rather than digitally, according to the survey.
Americans expressed confusion over how the Postal Service is funded, with 77 percent of respondents incorrectly stating the agency is partially or fully funded by taxpayer dollars.
Generally, younger Americans are more open to seeing changes to the Postal Service, but respondents of all ages were willing to see some reforms. Forty-eight percent of those polled told the inspector general’s office they supported closing underutilized post offices, though only 58 percent of them still supported the closures if it meant eliminating their own post office.
Half of the respondents said they support USPS making more services available at post offices. Sixty-four percent were in favor of allowing drivers to renew their licenses there, though only about 30 percent favored using the local offices to transfer money.
Most Americans support the Postal Service’s efforts to expand into the digital realm, with only 12 percent saying they do not trust USPS in that area.
The survey polled 5,000 Internet-connected Americans aged 18 and older, which the OIG recognized as problematic as the 20 percent of Americans without Internet live in primarily rural areas and may have different opinions on the future of the Postal Service.
Still, the inspector general said, the results demonstrate the importance of the Postal Service in lives of Americans.
“Its services have become engrained in American culture and most people want it to continue to serve in existing and new capacities,” the OIG wrote in its findings.
By Eric Katz
May 23, 2013