You haven't got mail: Average U.S. households receive a personal letter just once every SEVEN WEEKS

  • Findings compare to 1987 when the average household received a letter every two weeks
  • Experts believe the rise of the internet is to blame
  • Historians concerned that future generations will not be able to learn as much about their past

The future of the U.S Postal Service is looking increasingly bleak after a new survey revealed that the average American household gets just one personal letter every seven weeks.

The shocking findings were made following the Postal Service's annual survey and compare to a letter every two weeks back in 1987.

Experts believe the rise of the internet as a preferred method of communication is the reason behind the downward trend.

Less work: The U.S Postal Service has seen a decline in personal letter writing to households in America

Less work: The U.S Postal Service has seen a decline in personal letter writing to households in America

Although many people write notes in the holiday and birthday cards they send, the post office doesn't include those in the letter category.

Holiday and other greeting cards, as well as written invitations, have also gone down.

The loss of the lucrative first-class mail is just one part of the agency's financial troubles, along with payment of bills via the internet and a decline in other mail.

The Postal Service is facing losses of up to $8 billion this year.

But historians also fear what the impact of a reduction in letter-writing will have for future generations.

Worrying times: Due to a reduction in business, the U.S Postal Service is facing losses of up to $8 billion this year

Worrying times: Due to a reduction in business, the U.S Postal Service is facing losses of up to $8 billion this year

'One of the ironies for me is that everyone talks about electronic media bringing people closer together, and I think this is a way we wind up more separate', said Aaron Sachs, a professor of American Studies and History at Cornell University.

'We don't have the intimacy that we have when we go to the attic and read grandma's letters.'

'Part of the reason I like being a historian is the sensory experience we have when dealing with old documents and letters.

'Sometimes, when people ask me what I do, I say I read other people's mail.

'Handwriting is an aspect of people's identity,' he added. 'Back in the day, when you wrote a letter it was to that one person, so people said very intimate things.'

With social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter being very public, people may not say as much, he added.

Decline: Modern social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are being blamed as a reason why people send fewer personal letters

Decline: Modern social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are being blamed as a reason why people send fewer personal letters

History professor Jeffrey Nathan Wasserstrom of the University of California, is also concerned by the decline in letter writing.

'There are indeed many ways that a decline in letter-writing will affect future historians, as many people in my profession have certainly benefited from the insights that written missives provide into how people of the past thought and felt.

'Personally, I don't get or send many letters, at least not carefully composed ones,' he added.

Historian Kerby Miller, of the University of Missouri-Columbia, said any subject that relies on correspondence - culture, manners, husbands and wives, lovers, friends, brothers, historical business, political history - could suffer a loss with the decline in letter-writing.

But he does believe there could be some benefit.

'Many of us used to always feel guilty because we never wrote enough - remember all those letters from mom and dad?

'Well, if mom and dad have a computer it's much easier to dash off a note every day or so,' he said.

'So maybe all the consequences aren't going to be completely negative. Maybe a vast load of guilt will be lifted from the shoulders of the American people.'

James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, said future historians will be turning to email, as journalists are already doing.

'Email is different from letters, but it is comparable. It is more easily searchable,' he said. 'But we will have to learn how to use it.'

However, he does admit that people speak differently in email. 'Some people are more candid,' Mr Grossman said. 'Email is kind of a cross between a phone conversation and letters.'

There might even be more information available in the future because organizations and governments preserve email, he said, and one of the highest priorities of archivists is working on procedures and standards for preservation.

'Clearly people say things that are both eloquent and straightforward in the email, and that's the same as letter,' Mr Grossman said.

'Some people wrote letters with the assumption their mail would be read by posterity ... others with no idea that the person they wrote to would save them, much less give them to an archive.'

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