Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Blog > Postcrossing in numbers: 2021 stats

According to the census so far, 42% of postcrossers love to see posts about statistics on the blog… so here we are, reporting for statistician duty to give you an overview of last year in numbers! 👷 If you’re like us, you might want to open 2020's stats post on a new tab, to compare the values for the 2 years.

Ok, so first things first, the number of postcards received in 2021:

5,289,716 postcards received

Pretty impressive! This is a good bit (17%) above the total for the previous year, and even better than the number for 2 years ago, pre-pandemic. Woohoo!

26.94 days (average) and 18.12 (median) travel time

Average travel times are slightly faster than the previous year, but the median (a better calculation that doesn’t put as much emphasis on the outliers) is worse… and that is a little surprising to us as we expected both metrics to be lower by now. We hoped that postal services would have had enough time and pandemic experience at this point to sort things out between them, find alternative ways to ship mail, or just close routes temporarily until stuff has been fixed. 😩 Sigh.

25,774,489,281 kms (or 16,015,520,179 miles) of total distance traveled

This number is almost 4 billion more than last year, which is to be expected since we had quite a bit more postcards received as well.

19,929 kms (or 12383 miles) was the longest distance traveled by a postcard

The postcard doing this very very long trip was NZ-224513, which started its journey in Te Awamutu, Waikato, New Zealand and traveled all the way around the world to Cuevas de San Marcos, in Andalusia, Spain, arriving 32 days later! Pretty cool to think that a postcard connected these 2 places which are so far apart that they’re almost perfect antipodes. For comparison, the average distance a Postcrossing postcard traveled in 2021 was 4873 kms (or 3028 miles).

1,269,834 postcards were sent from Germany 🇩🇪

Once again, our enthusiastic German members have surpassed all the expectations and broke their previous record of 1,004,831 postcards sent in a year! This was also the year in which they crossed into Postcard IDs with 8 digits — the first country to do so in Postcrossing. 😊 Here are the top 20 countries and territories, by number of postcards sent:

Ranking Country/Territory Postcards sent
1🇩🇪 Germany1,269,834
2🇺🇸 U.S.A.824,901
3🇷🇺 Russia632,935
4🇳🇱 Netherlands287,368
5🇫🇮 Finland223,456
6🇨🇳 China181,296
7🇯🇵 Japan156,987
8🇬🇧 United Kingdom141,261
9🇹🇼 Taiwan140,879
10🇧🇾 Belarus123,260
11🇨🇿 Czechia109,282
12🇫🇷 France107,469
13🇨🇦 Canada104,474
14🇵🇱 Poland73,601
15🇦🇹 Austria62,951
16🇨🇭 Switzerland59,180
17🇱🇹 Lithuania58,990
18🇺🇦 Ukraine58,780
19🇧🇪 Belgium57,735
20🇦🇺 Australia46,574

The number of “Postcards sent” is a little counterintuitive, so I’ll explain a bit: this is the number of postcards sent from these countries which were registered in 2021. That means that there are some postcards in there that were sent in 2020 and registered in 2021, and there are also many postcards requested in 2021 that are not counted in this statistic (those are still traveling and will likely be registered over the next few weeks/months). Limiting this number to a certain timeframe and sticking to it makes it easier to compare with previous years though, so we’re going with it.

Although some countries have moved up and down the ranking, the countries in the top 20 are more or less the same as last year, with the only difference being Ukraine entering the list and Hong Kong leaving it.

What about top senders?

Sidolix sent the most postcards (registered in 2021)

Hannes (aka Sidolix) sent 2555 postcards and recovered his top pole position from 2019. 😊 Willi (2480), uttia4a (2476), hepman (2451) and Antje321 (2392) complete the top 5, all from Germany.

We’re not sure how these top members do it, but these numbers are super impressive… If you send a lot of postcards every year, maybe come share your secrets with us in the comments below!

Åland Islands sent the most postcards per capita

Looking at number of postcards per capita, the Åland Islands still reign supreme! Here’s a look at other countries and territories in the top 20:

Ranking Country/Territory Postcards per capita
1🇦🇽 Åland Islands98.9854
2🇫🇮 Finland38.0285
3🇱🇹 Lithuania19.7158
4🇬🇬 Guernsey19.1022
5🇳🇱 Netherlands15.7575
6🇩🇪 Germany14.3917
7🇱🇺 Luxembourg13.8598
8🇧🇾 Belarus11.8149
9🇨🇿 Czechia9.4894
10🇱🇮 Liechtenstein9.1005
11🇱🇻 Latvia6.9093
12🇸🇮 Slovenia6.7990
13🇦🇹 Austria6.6908
14🇨🇭 Switzerland6.5819
15🇪🇪 Estonia6.3738
16🇹🇼 Taiwan5.6596
17🇸🇰 Slovakia5.3622
18🇭🇰 Hong Kong5.1353
19🇲🇴 Macao5.0219
20🇲🇹 Malta4.8001

Note that the number represents postcards sent per 1,000 inhabitants, and only countries with more than 10 members are featured. Not many changes in the list, but Macao and Liechtenstein are newcomers to the top 20!

October 1, 2021 was the day in which more postcards were sent

No surprises there, right? Postcrossers sent more than 60,000 postcards on World Postcard Day this year, waaaaay above what we would consider a “normal” day in Postcrossing. The next best day of the year is the kick off of the December campaign on December 1st, with about 20,000 postcards sent. Apart from these 2 days, a lot of the days with most postcards getting sent seem to happen around March.

While we were looking at these numbers, we thought it would also be cool to look at the day with most postcards received…

December 30, 2021 was the day in which more postcards were received

A total of 21,225 postcards were registered in this day, though we confess we have no idea why this day in particular. 🤷‍♀️ Maybe there was some backlog of mail that got stuck somewhere because of the holiday season, and got delivered just as the year ended?

And that’s it for this year’s roundup of statistics! What do you think? Were you surprised by some of these numbers, or are there perhaps other stats that you’d be interested to hear about? Please do share them on the comments!

PS: We know it’s always frustrating when your country is not featured in a top ranking… so we published the full country rankings on this forum post.

PS2: Speaking of statistics, the second annual census is about to close, so make sure you submit your replies if you haven’t done so yet. You’ll find the link to it on the email we’ve sent some weeks ago.

on

Tags: ,

69 comments so far

xiaopangju, China
happy postcrossing!
on


HookedonPostcards, Canada
Always great to read the numbers behind the people and postcards!
Maybe include the link to the census here so that a Postcrosser can just connect to it directly, rather than have to rummage through their email? One-stop theory... ;-)
on


KalleSvenson, Germany
I would like to know how many cards actually get expired. Especially at the end of the year many got lost in my case. Its always sad bc we all put so much love in sending cards.
on


Axolotl_, Germany
Very cool stats summary! A few hints, the link "Postcard ID with 8 digits" isn't working and the numbering in the top 20 country list starts with 20. Just in case you want to edit this. :D
on


eyselbaer, Germany
I would also like to know how many postcards were lost in the mail during 2021 compared to 2020.
My feeling and experience is that the losses have increased over time.
Is it because of the pandemic, the post office or some postcard recipients who are simply very unreliable.
This circumstance is very annoying when you consider that the financial expense (postcard and postage) is often between 1.50-2.50 euros.
Most of my lost postcards were sent to China and Russia.
on


Indreni, United States of America
Great numbers! It's so encouraging to see that postcard exchanges are up this past year! I also have had more expired cards this past year than I did the previous year or so. Most of my expired cards involved Taiwan and a few to Russia, but unfortunately, a couple here in the US that have stopped registering cards. I agree, we put a lot of love and time and postage money into choosing cards. it's one thing if they get lost, no one can help that. But to not register postcards that one receives is not cool.
on


trillianastra, United States of America
Thanks for taking the time to post these stats - they are so interesting to review!
on


mysweetlife63, United States of America
I love reading the date you provide each year - fascinating.
The USA mail seems worse than ever & I begin to despair of anything resembling "normal" ever returning. More damaged cards & returned cards than ever this past year.
I would appreciate lost/expired card data. I keep this data on my own cards but would be interested to see how I compare to others.
Thanks for another wonderful year of Postcrossing! Y'all are so appreciated.
Keep well.
d
on


figtrees, United Kingdom
Thank you for the statistics! I agree I'm fascinated by the Postcrossers who send thousands of cards each year. :-)
on


RalfH, Germany
December 30th: Maybe that is the day, when many of the cards arrived in Europe, which were written by German Postcrossers on Christmas. And our dear fellow Postcrossers know about the charity action "Postcards for a good cause" and register them quickly, so that we can draw some more addresses within December. And of course the first long travellers arrive then as well.
Thank you very much to all who that charity action by regisrering cards as soon an possible!
on


OldSwampy, United States of America
As a new member, I have to say that some of these numbers are quite impressive. I had no idea what I was getting into... : )
on


gmansocal, United States of America
Amazing stats. Thank you for all the updates and continue the wonderful community.
on


tetsu70, Japan
Thanks for the information. It is useful as it provides us with a better understanding of, in particular, the transit times between sender and receiver. Much appreicated.
on


Jess-Cee, Netherlands
I'm a numbercruncher by profession (financial admin) and I just looooove statistics. Thanks for sharing 👍😀
And also thanks for running this project. You guys are awesome!
on


cjf3848, United States of America
So impressive! Glad to be a part of the group.
on


RowanP, Netherlands
Thanks for the information. Happy postcrossing!!!
on


jm1122, United States of America
I much enjoy these statistic posts! Thank you!
on


yirobinson, Netherlands
A little sad that the founders' compatriots do not feature in the rankings.
on


sealed4ever, United States of America
I love reading these recaps. So interesting. I want to personally thank Germany for so many Postcrossers!!
on


KobelskiDesigns, United States of America
I love post-crossing. There are so many beautiful cards. I enjoy looking at them and the places that they have been.
on


POSTALSAURUS, India
Happy postcrossing stats.
on


reiselustig, Germany
Thanks for those impressive stats! I know there are a lot of postcards out there on their way, but reading it like this is amazing! :-)
on


djctv2020, India
Happy to see the full data.
This is a wonderful secondary data for those who are interesting in the academic research.
Hurray SNAIL MAIL !
on


Froggie13, United States of America
Thank you for compiling this information! I really enjoy it.
on


marty44, Germany
I would like to know how many cards have been sent via travel mode :)
on


Mrata, Ireland
These stats are super impressive, thanks so much for putting it all together!!
I'm very happy that I found this community and contributed a bit to those figures :)

Happy Postcrossing!
on


jaenelle, United States of America
Thanks to Paulo and Ana and all staff for continuing to run this amazing project year after year! ❤️
on


Kristi-D, United States of America
I was one who sent less postcards than allowed during 2021, mostly because I've been overwhelmed with the changes the pandemic has meant for the art-education non-profit for which I volunteer (mostly good--moving online, but lots of work). I must say that for me, the postal service has been amazing. I've been slow to get my cards into the mail, but once they are on their way, they are arriving with their recipients very quickly (with a few countries as exceptions) and I'm receiving quickly. Thanks Paulo, Ana, and the worldwide postal service, for bringing bright spots to our days!
on


Steffi67, Germany
Cool, all those statistics are impressive. And I feel honoured that I received cards from 4 out of 5 postcrossers from Germany, who wrote the most cards last year. And I can still remember them.
I agree with those who complain about fellow postcrossers who just don't register cards. If you want to pause, put your account to "inactive", PLEASE.
on


-Cool-, Philippines
Would you have a site where we could still register expired postcards? I usually do not keep a second copy of the same postcard and so I always put the image of my postcard sent. This way, I still feel that I "have" the postcard when it appears on my sent wall. But when it expires, the image is lost forever. :(
on


kburrell, United States of America
Such fun to read the statistics. Amazing with the numbers.
on


Silvanus_Tauris, Ukraine
It would be very interesting to know which CITY is the most active; that is, which city sent the most postcards in 2021.
on


Tinkatutu, Australia
So cool to see these numbers, thank you!

I received a card from a top 50 sender the day these stats came out! Given I've only received 16 cards to date, I think that's awesome!

I've also sent a card to a person in the top 100. 🎉

Happy new year team! 🥳
on


judohelen, United States of America
Thanks so much for all the work you do for Postcrossing, and for these fascinating statistics!
on


Luziaceleste, Brazil
Allways lovely to learn how people are engaged and how we constantly move on this engine. Of course, thank you Ana and Paulo for creating and running this community for our enjoyment.
on


bigred398, Canada
It is awesome to see the numbers of post cards that have been sent and just as overwhelming that have been received.
Looking forward to getting some cards from different countries. Mine seem to come and go from Germany and Russia.
Happy New Year to all
on


Amanda5417, Australia
I love this project, you guys do a fantastic job!

Like a couple of other members I'd be interested in knowing about expired card statistics - both those that eventually get registered within the year (but after 60 days) and those that don't arrive within the year. I keep a list of cards I've sent that have expired and there's no single country that stands out as where more cards expire before registration than any other but it'd be interesting if that data was still available for you guys through the website.
on


RicksCasablanca, United States of America
Fascinating, Thank you for computing all these numbers!
on


PatriciaCC, United States of America
Thanks for these very interesting statistics! And thanks to all those postcrossers in Germany who keep sending postcards!
on


cathykimber, Canada
Thank you
I’m getting post cards.
But how do I send one back. Please help
on


ChattyCathy, United States of America
Thanks for connecting this beautiful world with a small paper square of happiness!🥰
on


Cathubodva, Germany
My suggestion (an answer to -cool-): you may scan as well the front side as the reverse side of your postcard and "storage" in a postcrossing named order in computer. I scan the picture side and make a coloured copy of reverse, so I still see the stamps I have chosen and so. I don't scan the written words with addresses because of cyber attacks risks. It is MY idea 🙂
on


JudithfromHamburg, Germany
So much fun to read this! Thanks for your great work to put this all together! 🤩
on


jeroenvberlo, Netherlands
Thank you for figuring out the statistic numbers.
It's fun to read this. Let's get even better numbers in 2022.
on


andrelc, Brazil
Thank you for the statistics. Great work!
on


Brooks_of_Sheffield, United States of America
Very interesting stats! I've often wondered what makes Germany such a leader in cards sent?
Perhaps postage costs have something to do with it. It would be complicated to compare, but I'm sure countries with comparatively high postal rates send fewer cards. I once had a card sender from Poland calculate what it cost to send a card, versus the average annual income in his country- and it was very expensive! So I've often wondered if the postcard postal rate from each country could be measured and compared to average income.
on


posticards72, Germany
Amazing numbers. Thanks for the statistics.
on


ravishing, Finland
Thanks for this! I love statistics! 🤩
on


SuziH, Canada
These stats are so interesting to me. Thanks for sharing.
on


Flippie, Canada
I love those Stats/Data...
Thank you Postcrossing and crossers.
on


nm_rockhound, United States of America
Wonderful
on


msquared47, United States of America
I'm a data person so I find the statistics very interesting. Thanks!
on


PaiviM, Finland
Åland Islands is part of Finland so I do not know why it is counted separately in the statistics? Yes, it has a special autonomic position in Finland, but it is part of the independent state of Finland. But I am happy that we are on the top of the list! Even if this is not a competition! Happy Postcrossing continues!
on


Worldculture, France
Very interesting. Can we have the link to the census?
I would find it interesting to see the most liked card sent this year.
on


Sidolix, Germany
Thanks Ana and Paulo for the new stats ! Great job !
Oh, I did it again... ! I´m glad and very happy !
This is because I like writing, have over 10.000 cards for send and can make a lot of people happy ´cause I try to send cards the receivers like not me... I do also convert a lot of my own photos into postcards...
I like the lovely feedback I get , so great moments to enjoy.. !
Pity, some people write nothing, not even thank you... :-(
Also pity, roughly 8-9 % of the sent cards get lost... :-((
But finally we´ll get in October 2022 the German Postcrossing stamp ! Yaay !
Wish all postcrossers a good and healthy 2022 !
on


luiskalife, Brazil
Thanks for sharing these interesting statistics with us. It is great to take part of the project and the repeated census idea is also a fantastic thing to know more about personal preferences/opinion. I would suggest to add at the stats the total (and percentage) of expired cards/year, the number of new members each year and postcrossers who left the project.
Congratulations Ana and Paulo for the great job!
on


jcmgbat, France
Merci pour ces statistiques intéressantes. Je suis contente de constater que Postcrossing se porte aussi bien. Longue vie à mon site favoris ♥
on


Telopea, Australia
Thank you for all the great work you are doing. Postcrossing brings so much joy!
on


ybur, Czech Republic
Sidelix - 2555 cards/year 2021. An incredible number. If I were also so diligent, I would give 85% of my annual income only to postage (except postcards!). It's beautiful to send/receive a lot of postcards, but I also have to pay rent, energy, eat, etc ...
However, a little joy is also a joy and so I will continue with my about 5 postcards a month :-D
on


Alinchen1996, Germany
Wow! 🤩 I'm always amazed how many people still write postcards! 📩 Greetings from Germany 🇩🇪
on


HM, Netherlands
How many postcrossers where active in sending those 5+million postcards? What was our average sent?

Impressive! We all worked on this to enjoy.
on


carruzzo, Russia
It's always interesting to read statistics. It's really impressive! 2 people from New Zealand and Spain would never have met, but they were united by a common passion! That's great! And I join the general wishes: I would like to know the number of lost postcards and which of the countries is leading in this. It seems to me that it will be Russia, our Russian post does not always work as it should ((
We have a joke in our country: there are 3 branches of hell on Earth - polyclinic, Sberbank and Russian Post )))
on


LC-Canada, Canada
Interesting stats as always, thanks for doing them!

One thing you didn't mention when talking about factors affecting the average or median travel time for a card is the fact that with each wave, millions of postal workers have been off work sick with COVID19.

Not easy to plan for that in the short or medium term - it just means everything is going to take longer.

If we protected essential workers better with N95 masks for all & fixed ventilation & added HEPA filtration & other workplace measures, we might have a lot fewer workers become ill, but so far governments & post offices for the most part refuse to do what the scientists are telling them to do.

Making profits over workers' health takes priority sadly.
on


Julia-Siberia, Russia
Good day! Thanks for the work you've done. Very interesting facts. I support the idea of ​​counting expired postcards. Personally, I often get lost when shipped to China. And so I want everything to reach the addressee.
Separate delight causes statistics from Germany. How can you send so many postcards? This is a big waste of money, time and the question is where is the collection of received postcards stored? Well, very interesting.
on


tircis, France
Waow, it's amazaing!
Let's send even more happiness accross the world in 2022!
Happy postcrossing!
on


Lejo, France
@ carruzzo : Don't be so harsh on Russian Post. I have been keeping statistics of my own sent cards. In these list are my expired cards over the years :
1. China 10.2 %
2. Taiwan 8.2 %
3. Lituania 7.1 %
4. Belarussia 6.7 %
5. Ukraine 5.7 %
6. Russia 4.6 %
7. U.S.A. 2.5 %
Note : I did not include countries I sent less than 25 cards to.
2 years ago I started to send cards in envelope only to China. Lost cards got less since.
To Russia I sent 1157 cards, 55 did not reach it's destination or were not registered. So often people disappear of the radar after you send them a card.
Leo
on


p2002, Poland
Cool! ☺️ Happy Postcrossing in 2022! 😉✉️
on


Jyli0603, Russia
Было очень интересно узнать такую статистику, спасибо. Всем счастливого посткроссинга
on


alison41, South Africa
Fascinating! you must have worked long and hard to produce such detailed stats. I especially enjoyed being able to look up my country's stats on the forum thread. Thanks for the hard work.
on


Leave a reply

You need to sign in to leave a comment!

Back to top