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Axios: Price of stamps increases for 2nd time in 2023 starting Sunday

The cost of postage stamps is going up by 3 cents on Sunday, the third price hike in the last 12 months.

Why it matters: It's the 17th rate change since 2000 and the shortest time between stamp increases in the Postal Service's history.

  • Rates last went up in January. Before that, they rose in July 2022 and August 2021.

  • Costs to send a letter by certified mail and insure packages will also increase.

The big picture: The Postal Service said in April that the increases raise first class mail by approximately 5.4% to "offset the rise in inflation" and are needed "to address continued elevated inflation and prior years defective pricing model."

  • Between the 1970s and 2000, rates increased three to four times a decade, USPS data shows.

Yes, but: Kevin Yoder, executive director of the advocacy group Keep US Posted and a former Republican congressman from Kansas, said that each time rates go up, mail volumes go down at a faster rate than projected.

  • "With three unprecedented postage hikes in 12 months, USPS has kicked off runaway 'stampflation' like the U.S. has never seen, and it's making the situation worse," Yoder said in a statement.

  • Yoder said that after January's rate increase began, "mail volume immediately decreased nearly 9% year-over-year, while expenses increased by 16%."

Zoom in: The number of pieces of mail handled by the post office has been on the decline in recent years as more people pay bills online and fewer send physical thank you cards.

  • In 2022, USPS handled 127.3 billion pieces of mail compared to the high of 213.1 billion in 2006, data showsEditSign

When does postage increase

Sunday, July 9 is the day the new rates go into effect and postage for a 1-ounce letter is 66 cents, up from 63 cents. The first-class stamp will be double the 1999 rate of 33 cents. Other increases are:

  • Metered 1-ounce letters will cost 63 cents, up from 60 cents.

  • Postcards sent domestically are 51 cents, up from 48 cents.

  • International postcards and 1-ounce letters are $1.50, a 5-cent increase.

Between the lines: The cost for Certified Mail, Post Office Box rental fees, money order fees and insurance are also increasing.

Forever stamps price

Flashback: The Postal Service first started selling Forever stamps in 2007, when they cost 41 cents.

  • Since 2011, all first-class commemorative stamps have been issued as Forever stamps.

  • "If you don't have Forever stamps, now is a good time to stock up," Yoder said.

What's next: More price increases are expected as part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's 10-year Delivering for America plan "to achieve financial sustainability."


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