Given that the USPS has announced yet another stamp price increase, I thought that it might be interesting to look at stamp price increases over time. What follows is a graph of the price of postage for a one ounce piece of mail from 1885 through the 2008 price increase.
As you can see, this appears to be a pretty steep ascent. But how fast have prices really been increasing? When viewed in terms of the percent annual increase, the numbers don’t seem nearly as bad.
Looking all of the way back to 1885, prices have increased an average of 2.51% per year.
Looking back over my life (since 1971), prices have increased an average of 4.60% per year.
And look over just the past 20 years, prices have increased an average of 2.60% per year.
So… This doesn’t look terribly out of line given historical rates of inflation. The higher rate over the course of my lifetime appears to be mainly due to relatively large increases in the 1970s and early 1980s, which was a particularly inflationary time. This include a $0.03 (30%) jump over the span of a year (1974-1975) and a $0.05 jump (33%) in three years from 1978-1981.
While we’re on the subject of stamps, why not hop on over to Stamps.com for a bunch of free postage and a free digital scale? You can always cancel if you don’t like it.