When we’re talking to other postcrossers at meetings, we often hear about their long term penpals, and how some people have kept up a steady correspondence back and forth for years. So it got us curious… how many postcrossers had or still have penpals? And if they never tried it, how many would be interested in giving penpaling a go in the future?
To find out, we ran a poll on the front page last week, and collected 8351 votes. These are the results:
As our own suspicions hinted, postcrossers are naturally fans of letter writing, with most people either having one at the moment (32%), or having had one in the past (33%). A further 24% of the respondents had never tried, but are eager to give it a go someday, and only 11% of participants stated that they were not interested.
The breakdown of the results by country can be seen below, but please take these numbers with a grain of salt. The average age range of postcrossers varies wildly in places, with Asian countries typically being home to much younger postcrossers, while things are more evenly distributed in the Western hemisphere. Naturally, this has an indirect impact in the results, as younger people might not have had the time to try penpaling yet. That said, here they are:
It’s always tricky to make conclusions from these kind of informal studies, but Japan seems to be the reigning champion of penpals at the moment, with over 50% of postcrossers still keeping in touch with theirs, and only 19% having given up over time.
Finland stands out as well — can you spot it on the graph? Over 97% of postcrossers have either tried, still have or are interested in penpaling. This does not come as a surprise, knowing their top spot on Postcrossing’s per capita ranking!
Which countries have more people looking for penpals for the first time, you ask? That would be China, India, Taiwan and Ukraine, all of which have over 40% participants in that category. (By the way, if that’s you, did you know that there’s a section in the Postcrossing forum dedicated to finding penpals?)
And Portugal, the birth country of Postcrossing, appears to be the one where people are least interested in penpals at all… Both Paulo and I have had penpals before, so I confess this is a somewhat surprising result for us. 😅 Perhaps other Portuguese postcrossers want to chime in on the topic?
In any case, how did your own country fare? Are the results more or less in line with your experience and expectations? Let’s discuss it on the comments below!
PS – As usual, only countries with more than 50 votes are included, so that the results can be more meaningful.