Rising cost of U.S. Postage Stamps

Here’s a line graph showing the historic trend of the first class postage stamp rate increase since 1945.

Rising cost of United States Postage

It seems like stamps are rising in cost so much lately. But it’s really been a historic trend since the beginning of the 1970s. That decade saw the cost of stamps have turned the sharp spike upward, and it’s kept a pretty consistent pace. Therefore it’s not so unusual to have stamps increase in price to 42 cents. It’s just keeping in historic trends.

Every decade since the 1970s has seen around eight to ten cents increase in the cost of a stamp.

Here’s the specific stats:

  • 1920s: no increase
  • 1930s: no increase
  • 1940s: no increase
  • 1950s: 1 cent increase (from 3 to 4 cents)
  • 1960s: 2 cents increase (from 4 cents to 6)
  • 1970s: 9 cents increase (from 6 cents to 15)
  • 1980s: 10 cents increase (from 15 cents to 25)
  • 1990s: 8 cents increase (from 25 cents to 33)
  • 2000s: 9 cents increase (from 33 cents to 42–so far proposed)

Of course it’s interesting to note that stamps would cost between two and three cents from 1885 to 1957. So 1958 was really the year when stamps would increase in price and never look back.

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Mike Maddaloni
17 years ago

Great stamp picture! Between the rate increases and the mess of lack of delivery and accountability, there is no hope for the USPS.

17 years ago

sharp graph. excellent color palette and texture. We have direct marketing (junk mail) to thank for the rate increases.

Tom Saaristo
17 years ago

I love the graphic! Very nice! I think I told you how incredible it is that we can still send first class letters for under $1! There are some places where it costs the equivalant of $10 U.S. to mail a letter

Abhay Shah
17 years ago

It’s still pretty amazing that I can write a letter, put it in my mailbox, and it shows up in California, Washington state, or Hawaii a few days later. I’d be willing to pay a buck for that service.

Mike Maddaloni
17 years ago

I also think it’s amazing that when you sign up – and pay for – the USPS’s Premium Forwarding Service at the Loop post office station, that they are unable to get the paperwork from the counter to the basement of the same building to put the forwarding in place! And it wasn’t long ago when calling Europe from the US was a dollar a minute. I am willing to pay the fair and accurate cost for a service. But when the service costs are not justifiable, and most of the payroll is stocked with people that don’t believe in accountability, that is when I stop sending thru USPS and pay more for the reliable and accountable UPS.

17 years ago

I agree it’s amazing at how little it costs to do so much, but I also agree it wouldn’t be such an issue if alot of things went paperless… bank statements, creditcard bills and everything else. either way, as gas prices rise, its only expected for them to raise the price of stamps so that way the’re using less tax dollars and more internal revenue to pay for mailing letters.

17 years ago

To everyone commenting how little it costs to send a letter, Don’t forget that some of your federal taxes go to paying for the letter to be sent. The Government gives the USPS millions a year. You are really paying a higher pricer per letter than just the stamp.

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