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Blog > Postcrossing in numbers: 2017 stats

On our open poll, many of you asked to see more statistics on the blog, so we thought we’d introduce a new series of posts all about Postcrossing and numbers. And what better way to start than by looking at some of the data from the year that just ended, right? Let’s do this!

5,425,005 postcards received

That’s right — almost 5.5 Million postcards were registered last year, which was pretty neat! We’ve just passed the 45 million milestone a few days ago, and are on track to celebrate the big 50 later this year. Woohoo!

25.7 days (average) and 17 days (median) travel time

Do you know the difference between an average (or mean) and a median? To calculate the average of a set of values, you sum all the values in your set and divide them by the total number of items in that set. This is great if your values are more or less well distributed, but outliers (both large and small) often distort the end result disproportionately.

Enter the median, which can be roughly described as the “middle” value of a data set. If you put all the travel times in a looong ordered line, 17 days would be the value in the centre of this distribution. This is a more reliable value to determine how many days most postcards travel before reaching their destination. Some will be quicker, some will be slower, but on the whole, postcards seem to travel somewhere around 17 days.

27,380,992,088 km (or or 17,013,759,698 miles) of total traveled distance

That’s… yeah. I don’t have words for it neither. We’re way beyond Pluto at this point!

19,985 km (or 12,418 miles) was the longest distance traveled by a postcard

Below is the postcard that traveled the longest distance last year. Can you guess between which countries it was exchanged?

It’s a trick question because of the content… but if you guessed New Zealand and Spain, you’d be right! Postcard NZ-155857 traveled between a pair of antipodal points: from the north tip of New Zealand to the south part of Spain.

916,800 postcards were sent from Germany 🇩🇪

Germany was the most active country last year, with almost a million postcards sent from there! Here are the other countries and territories in the top 20:

RankingCountryPostcards sent
1🇩🇪 Germany916,800
2🇷🇺 Russia776,853
3🇺🇸 U.S.A. 606,439
4🇳🇱 Netherlands307,189
5🇫🇮 Finland 247,153
6🇹🇼 Taiwan239,432
7🇨🇳 China221,390
8🇨🇿 Czechia204,019
9🇧🇾 Belarus178,794
10🇫🇷 France152,051
11🇯🇵 Japan132,546
12🇵🇱 Poland108,721
13🇬🇧 United Kingdom102,245
14🇺🇦 Ukraine89,283
15🇨🇦 Canada85,731
16🇭🇰 Hong Kong70,432
17🇧🇪 Belgium61,333
18🇦🇹 Austria53,435
19🇲🇾 Malaysia53,050
20🇦🇺 Australia52,137

hepman sent the most postcards

Dedication and a speedy postal service helped the Germans climb to the top of the charts, where they took most of the top spots! Here are our 20 most avid postcrossers:

RankingPostcrosserCountrySent
1hepman🇩🇪 Germany2,586
2DJHK🇩🇪 Germany2,547
3uttia4a🇩🇪 Germany2,533
4Willi🇩🇪 Germany2,506
5rosenbusch🇩🇪 Germany2,473
6Klausdiemaus🇩🇪 Germany2,471
7gremlin1🇩🇪 Germany2,456
8tullipan🇩🇪 Germany2,411
9Antje321🇩🇪 Germany2,395
10Marcii🇩🇪 Germany2,385
11ned44440🇮🇪 Ireland2,384
12Minna71🇫🇮 Finland2,348
13mapcardcollector🇬🇧 United Kingdom2,336
14Matin🇩🇪 Germany2,316
15fisherman🇮🇪 Ireland2,314
16chrissybaby🇮🇪 Ireland2,309
17Bock🇦🇹 Austria2,272
18marie61🇩🇪 Germany2,255
19radiofan🇦🇹 Austria2,249
20TimSarah🇩🇪 Germany2,199

And that’s it for last year’s numbers! If you’re hungry for more, Postcrossing has a group of pages dedicated to statistics where you can find more data to explore.

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87 comments so far

nofrodelius, Germany
Wow, go Germany!
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karryan, New Zealand
I'm wondering the shortest distance between where cards went? And also, the longest time it took for one to be registered?
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Merle13, Germany
Thank you for all the statistics! It was interesting to find out about it. I love to see them on the blog.
I'd find some kind of guessing game very exciting. For example guessing from and to which country postcard number 50 million comes and goes. Similar to the guessing of the exact time.
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lejo, France
Why are Belgium and Austria ranked equally on the 17th place, when Belgium has more cards sent ? Typo I guess ?
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SylviaM, United States of America
Loved this blog - super interesting!
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meiadeleite, Portugal
@lejo yup, a typo! Sorry about that, I've fixed it.
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SylviaM, United States of America
I think there is another typo. Germans took the top 10 spots in the top 20, not 20 spots.
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meiadeleite, Portugal
@karryan Because Postcrossing enforces a sort of "exclusion zone" around the place where a member lives, the shortest distance a postcard can travel is the radius we've defined for that area. So it's not exactly a random number... and thus less interesting.

Every year, there are always a few postcards being registered at 365 days (and a few that arrive even past that date), but it's usually due to mail issues or other special circumstances.
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meiadeleite, Portugal
@SylviaM Sorry about that! I was trying to say they took most of the top spots... but it came out wrong somehow. Ok — fixed that too! 😅
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D1ana, United States of America
Fascinating!
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ybur, Czech Republic
Wow, Czechia is the 8th last year! I thing in 2018 it will be worse: our dear Czech Post increases the postage from 1.2.2018 again - we will pay 35 CZK for Europe and 41 CZK for oversea (ten years ago, when I started with postcrossing, it was 17 and 18 CZK). A lot of postcrossers are planning to limit sending postcards.
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LuSays, United Kingdom
Like Karryan asked, what is the shortest distance? between two postcards. My guess is Germany!
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LuSays, United Kingdom
Awwww just read the answer, I kind of hoped for two neighbours discovering they were both postcrossers and not even needing a stamp...
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LuSays, United Kingdom
On the extra statistics pages I noticed a bit of a pattern, March and August seem to often have more postcards sent, any ideas as to why? I can see December having fewer due to xmas post delaying things... but not why it is consistently those two months...
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Tranchile, Guernsey
March (Easter) and August (Summer) usually biggest school holiday periods so a lot more people like teachers are off so more time to send cards. I get a lot of cards mention they are teachers as they note from my profile my daughters’ are teachers.
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MerlinM, Germany
This is great! Thank you for sharing this statistics.
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MerlinM, Germany
I already wonder if 2018 statistics will be different due to the new traveling feature.
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Kewl, Philippines
Do you have the other end of the spectrum? Slowest delivery? Shortest distance? Top 10 countries with the lease number of postcards sent? etc?
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Heepy, United States of America
Interesting! A couple of people asked about short distances. I drew a member who lived within an hour of my home (36 miles). I mailed the card within hours, thinking it would get there within a couple of days. Wasn't so. It took 11 days. I could have walked it there in less time! (The user registered cards regularly).
https://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/US-4815624
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reimira, Åland Islands
Talking about short distances, this was also a funny coincidence - one day I received two cards in the mail, both from Czechia, from users who lived 40 km from each other. :D
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pne, Germany
reimira: one day, I sent postcards to two postcrossers who lived on the same street (house 31a and house 43) in the same town in Russia (Voronezh)! (I asked the second one whether she knew the other one - she didn't)
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ned44440, Ireland
🙌 Love this blog 👍. I love comparing stats so I am looking forward to a similar report next year for 2018 😀
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paradonym, Germany
@karryan - that exclusion zone is good, because there may be multiple users even within a city which technically could send postcrossing cards to each other. - I mean, I wrote cards to Hamburg (Germany) before traveling to there - I could have delivered the card by hand (which could be a great idea). Or cards to Bremen - that's the city where our post from our city gets sorted - so they're arriving there when I post them.

That's what the exclusion zone is for... You can send cards, you get cards from them, but the distance between could be a way you go day to day...
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harrickson, United States of America
This is very interesting information. Thank you for sharing!
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aelee, Taiwan
Amusing stats! Keep going, Postcrossing! Keep going, Taiwanese! I'm proud of you guys!
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Mapsooo, Iceland
Thank you, love it, I would love to read more posts like this one on the blog, is it possible to put last logged in on each country site instead of random users and is it possible when you when you search users in each country to see the ranking of all users there, you can now see them in alphabet order but it would be great to be able to choose als to see them in ranking order.
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Alexander9179, Russia
The longest delivery time is 365 days (I have 1), longer do not register (I have 2). The shortest distance, it is necessary to look for the participants from the villages or small towns. I saw our 4ajka 0.296 km (0,296m away), as well as saw someone from the city of Volzhsky 0.648 km (648 m away).
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Alexander9179, Russia
I am interested in statistics for cities. My city, though not the largest in terms of population, but only 70 countries in the world have a population of more...
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SunshineCece, United States of America
I love the stats, it is so cool how much postcards are exchanged. With the new, USA government shutdown, postcards to and from USA will probably be delayed a bit, so if you are sending to the USA then you should probably, wait for the government to get back on track, it will not take a long time though. Maximum is months. Just so you guys can know.
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surfclub66, United States of America
The US government shutdown does not affect the post office. The post office already posted on their Facebook internal news site that mail delivery will not be affected at all. The post office is not government funded.
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surfclub66, United States of America
Added thought: mail delivery occurred at my house about ten minutes ago. The post office is autonomous in the US. It isn't funded by tax dollars. It's funded entirely through sale of product. As the slogan goes, nothing stops the US mail. ;)
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marica_t, United States of America
I love statistics and numbers in general, so this was a very fun article! Thank you so much, and I look forward to this year's postcards and stats!
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mousytrap, United Kingdom
I'm with Mapsoo... I'd like to see who's above me in the pecking order for UK and how many more I need to send to go up one place!!!!!!
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Mosshumla, Sweden
@Mapsoo:
You can see the ranking of members in one country (at least the first 1000). When searching for all members of Iceland for example, you get the result "231 members" . Just to the right of that, where it says by default "order by username", you can choose "order by postcards sent" instead. (Took me only 3 years to discover that possibility.)
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Flippie, Canada
Why to go Postcard lovers. Thank you Post-crossing.
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oversoul4, Taiwan
Amazing data!!!! May every Postcrosser have happy mailbox in 2018😆
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linos203, Germany
I would be interested in the most popular postcards of the year
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francisicusrex, United States of America
More info about my card -- the longest distance traveled one:

Wow! What fun. For context—I was living and teaching as an expat in New Zealand, flew home to visit my family in the states and drove through Wisconsin and bought the card there. I brought the card (along with others) back to New Zealand, admittedly forgot about it (and Postcrossing for a bit, hence the nearly year long delay), got back on site and mailed it. So this card has traveled even more than the distance it says! From Wisconsin to Arizona and then a flight to New Zealand AND THEN to Spain :)
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cinciong, United States of America
Thank you for this great post, I love the statistics. And a special thank you for teaching me about antipodes! What a fascinating concept!! I found a site where I could locate antipodes and discovered that the antipode to my home in Seattle is in the ocean southeast (and nearest to) South Africa and Madagascar. Maybe I will pull a postcard from one of those countries someday.
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Gagaie, France
Yeah ! The postcrossing makes a lot of joy all over the world. ♥
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mousytrap, United Kingdom
Brilliant, Mosshumla!!!

Thought it might only resort the first 1000 in that order to begin with, but no, it seems to be grabbing the top 1000 from the whole UK member list.

Exactly what I was looking for... :)
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Mapsooo, Iceland
Thank you @ Mosshumla :)
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mousytrap, United Kingdom
Second most popular cards of the year, across the whole site (maybe top 10). Also Top 10 of all time. :)
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kallini2042, Canada
Thank you for publishing statistics! We all tend to be mesmerized by numbers (unless we have to take a math exam or an exam on statistics!) I think countries rankings will change given that some countries send more cards than the ones close to them by the overall number. For example, I think soon Czechia will overtake Poland and China will overtake Belarus. Or Hong Kong will overtake Portugal. It's hard to say without being able to operate the actual numbers, but these are my predictions.

I am wondering how new Travel Mode affected the number of cards sent from more exotic destinations. I think a poll asking only those who travel how many (the range) cards they sent from their vacation (or maybe a percentage) could be interesting even though numbers are numbers and they can be misleading. I'm just curious.
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Sailorgirl, Portugal
Thanks, thay was an interesting read...we want to see more numbers and stats :)
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Gaspara, Italy
I think Germany post is cheaper than other in Europe, and this help! between Germany and Italy we have a big difference for non european countries ( and also for european, not so big but enough)
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Prinzmucki, Germany
It's ok,now we doing more in next year.
let's go
and a happy new year for all Postcrossers around the World!
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gp37053, Belgium
maybe not the right way to put the question... (I guess I will never know unless I try): is there a way to figure out how many 'really active' postcrossingmembers there are in every country; e.g. exclude members which have not sent/received any postcard over the last 12 months?
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syajaja, Malaysia
thanks postcrossing for those numbers and facts!!
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minizdiary, Kuwait
I would like to know that too @gp37053 . For rare countries or countries with bad postal system, the ranking are misleading. If someone from good postal system country moves to one with poor , they are on top because of his/her past postings but if you check they haven't posted any from the new country.
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Palani, Ukraine
Thank you very much for the interesting statistics!!!!
Hurray! Ukraine is the 14th last year! :)
Congratulate Germany on such a great work!!!!!!
Happy New Year for all Postcrossers around the World!
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EdHunter, Russia
Only 765972 postcards from not top 20 countries were received... As for me it shows that postcrossing is not well known in most of countries. Or people there simply don't have free money to send postcards.
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robinmp, United States of America
How is it possible to send 2000 cards n one year? I’m just curious because with the random system and the amount of days in one year, it doesn’t seem possible. How does it work?
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_samy_, India
Woah!!!
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PashaT, Russia
Wow! Thank you!
Realy intresting information
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meiadeleite, Portugal
@robinmp Our most active members can send have up to 100 postcards traveling simultaneously... and many of them do! That, combined with an efficient postal system, is the secret to sending 2000 postcards in a year. :)
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RalfH, Germany
@robinmp: I think it is more a question of money and leisure time. The participants in the top 20 have all the maximum of 100 slots, so they can draw enough addresses. And even the all time top sender Willi has "just" send about 23,808 cards so far, while there are 714,831 members participating. So there are even for him still enough addresses to draw.
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Alexander9179, Russia
Of the Russian Federation, 2000 greeting cards a year, that's about 3000 euros per year.
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robinmp, United States of America
Wowwwwwwwww, thank you so much for your responses :) I had not idea :) @meiadeleite and @RalfH
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altadc, Philippines
How awesome! A big round of applause to everyone!
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Knerq, United States of America
So interesting! Thank you for sharing
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meidans, Netherlands
Great job Germany. But I'm also very proud of our own small country on 4th place with over four times less people in the country as Germany ;)
Thank you for this article. I like reading all the different statistics.
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AkiSofya, Kazakhstan
Thanks, Postcrossing for this interesting blog, it was really fascinating to read. Also thanks to American postrossers, who told the information about your mail service regarding the recent government events. I will take a note on that, post will be served normally.
Thanks a lot!
Best wishes!
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AliJawad99, Pakistan
Excellent work. Great performance presented even better. I loved reading it and felt proud to be part of this community. Happy Postcrossing!
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thfrancolin, Brazil
How many card was sent from Brazil in 2017?
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post_tenebras_lux, Czech Republic
I think you should really do something about the financial and cultural dominance of several large PC communities. You should much more actively promote cultural diversity here, otherwise this excellent and lovely "more-than-a-hobby" will eventually become nothing more than an outlet of rich folks from northern hemisphere, who can afford astronomic amounts to spend for postcards... Seriously, even if I would like to, I cannot afford mailing 2500 postcards a year, hell no, this would represent almost FOUR MONTHLY SALARIES here!
It is absolutely insane to see that all top 10 most active guys are all from Germany and together they mailed insane amount of postcards, more than 25.000, which is far more, than for instance number of ALL postcards, mailed from bottom 100 countries in Postcrossing EVER.
Get your head out of the sand please and let us start doing something about it.
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VivienSin, Hong Kong
Wow! Interesting data! Also, I never expect Hong Kong ranked 16th for postcard sent. I am one of the contributors. So good.!
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melekspost, Turkey
I want to see received statics of 2017 Actually.
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sellena, Ukraine
I am a postcrosser from Ukraine and I am always offered to send many postcards to Russia, which borders my country. That's unfair. Mail service in this country is slow as hell and I have to wait 50 days on the average to have my postcard registered even at the smallest distance. I'd rather prefer to receive addresses from countries such as Austrailia and Zealand, which are quick, rather than Russian ones.
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post_tenebras_lux, Czech Republic
Olya, I can feel your pain :-) I unfortunately also get a lot of Russian addresses and average delivery time in Russia is atrociously long... plus many cards get lost on their way...
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kallini2042, Canada
I think every member has approximately the same distribution of Sent/Received cards from a particular country, especially when there are enough cards to even the numbers out. After all, it's "a numbers game". I saw only one member who sends 45% cards to Russia and I believe it's by choice (given his experience - more than 2,000 sent cards).

Speaking of "rich folks" - I have been once told that "the richest people are not the ones who earn the most, the richest people are the ones who spend the least". :))) Clearly none of us fits this category as postcards are something we can do without. Also, if postal service in Russia was as expedient as it is in Germany, Russia would have become the dominant country just by sheer amount of members sending fewer cards per member.

We all have borders with some countries - and the USA has "the exclusive bordering right" with Canada, but it doesn't mean that we have to exclude each other. Not to say that we speak the same language and are hardly distinguishable from one another, though we try!. :)))

But given that richest people can allow to travel, it would make a difference if when they begin sending cards from those countries. Even if Russians will visit former Soviet Republics such as Georgia or Armenia, Azerbaijan - it would be nice to receive a card from there.

I think postcrossing is more about people than it is about postcards and maybe there are advantages to having "dominant" senders? There should be. Maybe the quality of a card is more important than where it is from?
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josephvm, India
Which card travelled the longest distance of all time?
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Stevyy, Austria
@post_tenebras_lux: Czechia sent ~ 20% the cards of Germany with ~12,5% the inhabitants. So per capita, you guys in CZ are even more 'bad' than some others.

The dynamic of many versus few active users has various reasons, not only money. Tradition, media-coverage, active network. But yes, of course postcrossing is easier in affluent regions.
I am sure postcrossing's managing team appreciates any useful suggestions you bring.

The maximum of possible postcards traveling is 100, btw. So even superusers cannot grow endlessly.

As for Russia, both you and Sellena are within the range of variation we all face. But you might check your 'repeated countries' option - maybe it's active.
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humphred, United States of America
I recognize that House of the Rock Postcard. We visited it on a vacation over 20 years ago. I'm sure i sent the same card to someone back then. Impressive statistics.
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Teacherette, Germany
@karryann and @meiadeleite, in 2016, I received a postcard from a User in my region (or rather "Landkreis", a kind of political district). She wrote that would have come round if she had had to do something near my place. And it's funny when you draw a User you already know from private swaps via Facebook and/or meet-ups.
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LenaSav, Belarus
excellent statistics. pleased that Belarus is the 9th largest in the number of postcards sent
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Sfander, Canada
Absolutely loved the stats! Way to go Germany!!
Can't wait until we see the BIG 50 and I'm going to do my best to help get us there! I love Postcrossing!
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3Meredyth, Australia
Great info, I would be interested in the number of cards that fail to get registered and to what countries they originate from & where they are going ☺
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geminiscp, Portugal
Amazing info! WOW for Germany!!!! :) Can't wait to see you all break the record of 1 million cards! :D Go for it! :D Congratulations to all of us, Postcrossers! :)
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afrique, Congo
So the real challenge seems to be, how to increase participation among the lower rank countries. It would be great for everyone to help send/receive from smaller and less common places.
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Lucie84, Czech Republic
Czechia 🇨🇿❤️
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LuSays, United Kingdom
I am fascinated by the coincidences that happen in postcrossing. I had a postcard written in German, so I took it to my German born friend and she was telling all about the different buildings on the card - "WOW is that all written in there?" I asked thinking it wasn't that many lines for so much information! "No" she said "That is where I lived for 20 years and my mum still lives there!..." She was as excited as me about that postcard, we have shown it to all the people we work with!
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post_tenebras_lux, Czech Republic
Afrique: Yes, exactly... In my opinion our main task should be increasing cultural diversity and participation...
Btw last year I mailed 65 postcards, which is roughly 1 postcard a week... I have no problem with people who mail twice or three times more, but to be honest, to mail 2.000 cards a year... I really do not understand the point here...
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Mapsooo, Iceland
It seam like Minna71, uttia4 and hepman are going to take the lead on the world list in rhe near future together with the three irish people, that is if they keep on sending so much, the three people on top of the world list have dominated for a long time but Minna71 from Finland is soon taking over third place it seam, top three on the world list has been the same since I started over five years ago and top two is still going strong in the lead.
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mineral, Hong Kong
I want to see more numbers and stats too :)
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shc, Indonesia
I'd like to know active member. Who has logged in past 6 months.
Average time of member being active, 2 years or 200 cards.. this is kinda hard maybe and there are lots of personal reason.. for slow post countries maybe stop at under 100; etc
Thanks anyway :)
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MerlinM, Germany
I like to know about the average and median travelling time of postcards to and from the different countries though I know that there are many factors influencing it.
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