Does placement of the Zip Code on a letter change delivery time?

I was once told that if you put the Zip Code of the recipient on the same line as you put the City/State, it will be delivered faster than if you put the Zip Code on a line by itself below the City/State line. Is there any truth to this?

P.S. I did search for this, so if it has been previously asked, I apologize.

Okay, you’re a new member, but it really would be a good idea for you to take 5 seconds and read the forum listings for more appropriate placement of your thread.

Straight Dope Message Board Front Page

I’m moving this to “General Questions.”

your humble TubaDiva

Thanks TubaDiva, I corrected myself 5 seconds after I made the error, perhaps that was the 5 seconds you could have used to see that it was under Gereral Questions

humble Supersmash

A properly formatted address according to the Postal Service.

If the above link fails …

Elements of the Mailpiece:

  1. Always use your return address - if the letter is undeliverable, it can be returned
  2. Endorsements are placed above and to the left of address (2 lines below return address)
  3. Name and/or “Attention:” line. Print or type address clearly in center of envelope (Use 10, 12, 14 pts for best readability)
  4. First and foremost, the endorsement should be clear and legible:
  • Use all caps, no punctuation, and left justify the margin
  • The color contrast between the endorsement and the mail piece background must be kept at a reasonable degree. A brilliant colored background or reverse printing is not permitted.
  1. Always use directionals in address (e.g., “N” for north and “S” for south)
  2. Use abbreviated locators in address (e.g., APT, ST, AVE)
  3. Include RM (Room), FL (Floor), STE (Suite), or APT (Apartment) # on same line as (and after) street address
  4. Use two letter state abbreviations in address block
    9. Use ZIP+4® (if known) on last line following city and state
  5. This is the barcode area; if you do not have a program that calculates and prints the correct barcode, then leave this area blank.
  6. Postage is placed in upper right corner.

A different USPS link stated that the system routes mail according to the zip code, followed by city/state. My WAG on this is if you place the zip code on a different line, you risk the mail being routed to a catch-all area for manual processing and slowing down the delivery.

My guess is that it doesn’t. You could test this by next time you travel, mail yourself two letters from two different collection boxes at the same post office, one zip coded and one not. I bet they arrive at your house the same day. Duffy Daugherty (former MSU football coach) used to joke that one time an irate fan sent him a letter addressed simply “Duffy the Dope” and it got to him in only two days!

Apart from being backup for a missing or incorrect Zip code, do the City and State even get used anymore in most parts of the US? Here in Ann Arbor, even mail within the city goes through Detroit.