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    Physical Address vs. Mailing address and when it matters

    July 22, 2017

July 22, 2017

Physical Address vs. Mailing address and when it matters


Mailing address standards and physical address standards are the two address standards in the US.

In the USA, there are two standards for addresses: mailing address that address standardizationUS Postal Service standards for mail delivery, and physical location for everything else. Physical address of a location includes US Census Bureau Standardization for anything to do with advocating or interacting with any government entity. It’s the only standard for insuring delivery of services to the 15% of the US population who cannot receive mail where they live.

Mailing address and physical address are not always the same. This blog will show you how to find out if an address is a mailing address or a physical (real) address but does not receive mail, and how to know whether you need mailing addresses only, real (i.e. physical) addresses only, or both for your organization and mission to succeed.

The differences between mailing address and physical address

The Post Office names for cities are the name of the city or local name for the unincorporated area of the county in which the post offices that deliver the mail are located; not the name of the jurisdiction in which the physical address sits. But the Jurisdiction of where the address sits (also known as municipality) is the real address for all government purposes, especially advocating for your cause, all tax purposes, all land development purposes, building purposes, and all home and commercial mortgage regulation and programs.

For instance, the entirety of zip code 95033 states mail there is delivered to Los Gatos, California. But in fact, it is delivered outside the Town of Los Gatos in portions of the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties in California. The real address for the mailing address 21850 Bear Creek Road, Los Gatos, 95033-9438 is 21850 Bear Creek Rd, Santa Cruz County, CA 95033, more than 3 miles away from Los Gatos.

Here is another example, for the entire zip code of Nice, California, 95464, there is no city or town of Nice. Nice was the name given to the post office at the insistence of the local chamber of commerce and realtors because they thought Nice was so nice it should become a city or town. But the people of Nice think the area is too nice to have its own municipal government. So all mailing addresses in Nice California are actually to the unincorporated area along the north shore of Clearlake in Lake County, CA. For address 3565 Beynon St. Nice CA 95464, it is actually 3565 Beynon St., Lake County, CA 95464   When you enter 3565 Beynon St, Nice CA address in google or bing maps, you only get the mailing address if the address were to get mail, which as we’ve just seen, is not always the case. If you want to confirm if that address actually gets mail, use https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction_input, and you’ll get the message “Unfortunately, this address wasn’t found” which means the post office does not deliver to it and does not have it in its records.

If you want to get the actual, or physical address which is the address for all government purposes, including matching people to their Congress people or state representatives, determining how much sales tax you need to charge, what school district they are in, whether they are eligible for any special government sponsored lending or mortgage program, or to which planning department you need to go to pull a construction permit, just enter the address into our free live demo on https://usgeocoder.com/api_live_demo and look for the “Municipal” result. Let’s look at three examples using https://USgeocoder.com.

Sample one: 18041 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Physical Address Vs Mailing Address

What USgeocoder is telling you in the standardized address that the address is identified as being within the territory served by the USPS office in Los Gatos, CA, but the lack of a zip+4 value shows USPS does not deliver to that address. You can see at the bottom left that the address is in the county of Santa Clara in the municipality of Monte Sereno. So it’s address for all government and regulatory purposes is 18041 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd, Monte Sereno, CA 95030. The city hall address for Monte Sereno, CA is in fact 18041 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd, Monte Sereno, CA. If the owner needs to pull a building permit, he’ll have to go to the Monte Sereno planning department, not Los Gatos planning department.

Now let’s see what the physical address is for mailing address 21850 Bear Creek Road, Los Gatos, CA 95033:

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 12.22.04 PM (2)

What USgeocoder is telling you is that the address receives its mail (notice the zip+4 95033 – 9438 in the standardized address section) through the Los Gatos post office. The municipality of this address is “un-incorporated which means The physical address for all government purposes is 21850 Bear Creek Rd, Santa Cruz County, CA 95033. Los Gatos is over four miles away in the county of Santa Clara!

If you click on the map legend, and then check the boxes for State Lower House 2017, you can see that the state house district is 29, not 28 which serves Los Gatos. The deep purple line is the border between Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. If the resident needs police services, he will receive it from the Santa Cruz county sheriff, not Los Gatos police department. To write his state assemblyman or state senator, he needs his physical Santa Cruz County address.

Physical Address Vs. Mailing Address

Want to find out if the mailing address is the same as physical address for a particular address? Just enter the address and the 5 digit zip code in our live demo https://usgeocoder.com/api_live_demo to find out!


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