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Where Americans Still Use the Postal Service the Most, in One Map

North Dakotans like sending mail.

Across the country, people are using the mail less, and the U.S. Postal Service is suffering because of it.

The volume of first class, single-piece mail -- composed of normal letters and other pieces requiring a basic stamp -- declined by a staggering 61 percent between fiscal years 1995 and 2013. In some areas, however, mail is still quite popular.

In Charleston, W.Va., for example, postal customers are mailing virtually as much now as they did 20 years ago. A report from the USPS inspector general this week broke down the declines by city and state.

At the state level, mail usage dropped off the least in North Dakota, where volume fell just 37 percent since fiscal 1995. In Washington, D.C., first-class mail customers have nearly disappeared entirely, with volume declining 87 percent. The IG said the Postal Service should comb through this information to glean how to better target customers.

“The Postal Service can gain great insight on how to best improve and expand its products and services, illuminating some of its core strengths and weaknesses, through a better understanding of why these trends are occurring,” the IG wrote.

The auditors speculated the demographics of the states might explain the variances. Not surprisingly, households with older “heads of households” consistently used the mail more than their younger counterparts. The rates of decline, however, were similar despite age and other demographic categories.

The IG suggested further examination of the trends to figure out root causes.

The map below identifies the percent decline by state between fiscal 1995 and fiscal 2013, with darker shades representing steeper percentage drops.

(Top image via   / Shutterstock.com)