The Hill posted a story claiming that the majority of post offices the USPS wants to close are in Republican congressionsl districts. Unfortunately, the publication hasn’t provided data to back up its assertion, and the numbers it provided in its story are rather vague:
A large majority of post offices that have been targeted for closure are in Republican districts.
More than 2,500 of these post offices are in GOP districts while about 1,000 are in districts represented by Democrats, according to a review by The Hill. There were fewer than 100 stores where the district could not be determined because the zip code is represented by lawmakers in both parties.
More importantly, the Hill failed to analyze the numbers- it doesn’t say, for example, how many total post offices are in Republican or Democratic districts. In addition to the fact that there are obviously more GOP than Democratic districts, Republicans tend to represent more of the rural areas likely to have offices serving very small communities.
Here’s a quick comparison of two states- one red and one blue. My home state of Massachusetts is relatively urban, suburban, and Democratic. It has a population of 6,545,593, and contains 744 ZIP codes. That’s an average of 8,533 people per ZIP code. Kentucky, on the other hand, is a more rural, and more Republican state. It also has a smaller population than Massachusetts- 4,026,336. But the state has far more ZIP codes- 1,015. That means that on a per capita basis, Kentucky has more than twice as many ZIP codes as Massachusetts. It would hardly be surprising to see Kentucky lose more POs. (Note: I realize that there are more ZIP codes than post offices. It’s still a good proxy for POs, however, and if anything, using ZIPs should overstate post office coverage in urban states, since they are more likely to have multi-ZIP post offices.)
Looked at another way, Massachusetts has 13 post offices serving communities with less than 200 people. Kentucky has 60.
Obviously the numbers cited by The Hill don’t tell the whole story!