Why is USPS so slow?

More often than not when we have ordered our package and we are expecting them, there is this feeling of eagerness and happiness. After a while, those feelings turn to frustration and you check your tracking information to see your package is in transit but has not been delivered to you yet. Then you ask yourself: Why is USPS so slow? In this article, we break down possible reasons for that as well as conditions for slow delivery. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a means of distributing mail and shipments to individuals and companies throughout the United States. They provide domestic and worldwide shipping at various costs to meet your shipping and delivery requirements.

Why is USPS so slow?

Why is USPS so slow?

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) offers a variety of tools and alternatives to assist you in determining exactly where your mail is and whether it has been delayed or not. Occasionally, packages are slowed or redirected as a result of unforeseen circumstances. Typically, USPS used to deliver their first-class mail no more than three days but after October 1, 2021, the timing has been extended to take place between two to five days. The most widespread and substantial change will be to first-class mail, which includes items such as letters, small packages, bills, and tax paperwork, among other things. 

Additionally, it is mostly the first-class mail that will see changes in delivery. 

First-class transit within 140 miles of the recipient may take up to two days. Mail delivered through first-class mail between 140 and 930 miles away may take up to three days. First-class mail delivery between 930 and 1,907 miles will take up to four days, depending on the distance traveled. Lastly, delivery of first-class mail over a distance of 1,907 miles will take up to five days.

Types of packages and their estimated time of delivery 

Below is a table of estimated delivery times and although they are not definite unless stated otherwise, they serve as a guide timeline for when you should ideally expect your delivery.

Class of MailEstimated Delivery Time
First-Class MailFirst-Class Mail takes between 1 and 5 business days.
First-Class Package ServicePackage Delivery Service of the First Class will take 1-3 business days.
Priority MailPriority Mail is delivered either between 1, 2, or 3 business days.
Priority Mail ExpressPriority Mail Express delivery typically occurs within 1-2 calendar days of receipt (guaranteed)
USPS Retail GroundUSPS Retail Ground takes 2-8 business days to deliver.
Package Services: Examples of this types of mail includes Library Mail, Media Mail, or Bounded Printed Matter It will take between 2 and 8 business days.
Parcel Select and Parcel Select LightweightIt will take between 2 and 9 business days.
Periodicals such as magazines, publications, journals, etc. Periodicals are delivered in 3-9 business days.
USPS  MailMarketing Mail from the United States Postal Service takes 3-10 business days.

What is the major difference between the old and new times of transit?

Before this change, the postal service’s first-class mail delivery standard included two days dispatch for packages going up to 280 miles and 3-day transit for products traveling more than 280 miles. Because of the new USPS standard, some deliveries will now take up to two days longer to arrive than they did previously.

New delivery times

For first-class mail (standard-size letters and envelopes), the USPS claims that 39% of all mail will be delivered within 3 to 5 days, depending on the distance to the recipient. After that, it should arrive within one to two days.

32% of packages will now be dispatched in four to five days, with the longest trips requiring the longest time, according to the postal service. The remaining 28% will be delivered within two to three days, depending on how quickly they ship.

9 percent of periodicals will be dispatched in five days or less, according to the Postal Service, for periodicals (magazines and newspapers).


Although the timing has significantly changed for certain mail delivery, some other factors can also slow the service.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are the unforeseen circumstances that are causing a late delivery?

For a variety of reasons, your package may become stalled in transit, including providing a wrong address, during the holiday season, failing to clear customs, sending it internationally, adverse weather, traffic (especially during peak hours), misplacing your package, shipping it to an incorrect address, items that are prohibited or restricted, sharp objects, incorrect (including overweight or excessive) packing and insecure packaging are all examples that may slow down your delivery.

  • My letter hasn’t arrived in a timely manner. What can I do about this?

With only a one- to three-day delivery standard, customers can still ship mail, bigger envelopes and packages within the continental United States utilizing Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail services. While using regular first-class mail or package service, the Postal Service suggests that you plan and send your mail as early as possible to ensure that it arrives at its destination in good time.

  • What do I do for missing mail?

A tracking number is the sole means to detect or reroute a letter or shipment that has an erroneous address or was delayed by weather. Some Postal Service services, like first-class package delivery, automatically include tracking.

 Adding tracking doesn’t speed up or ensure delivery. It makes it easier to find lost items. To track an item sent to you, you can contact the sender to receive the tracking number and follow its delivery status online. You can also contact a Postal Service employee for assistance. Following a five-day delay, you can file a “missing mail” search request to the Postal Service, which will attempt to locate it. You may also email a complaint.

Why is USPS so slow?

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