Address Standardization

Glossary

Standardizing addresses

Standardization is the process of making an address uniform. The USPS defines a standardized address as "one that is fully spelled out, abbreviated by using the Postal Service standard abbreviations ... or as shown in the current Postal Service ZIP+4 file."1

A standardized address alone does not guarantee validity or deliverability.

Before deliverablility can be determined, an address must first be standardized. Once standardized, an address will be complete, including any missing city, state, or ZIP Code information. It will use USPS-approved spelling, abbreviations, and formatting.

Aside from mail delivery, a fully standardized address is a first step in address de-duplication (finding and removing duplicate addresses from a list or database).

Examples of standardized addresses

Remember, an address is first standardized and then verified. We have demonstrated this in the following table.

Address as typed by someone Standardized version
121 jones street
montgomrey, AL
121 Jones St
Montgomery AL 36104-4945
2993 Johnson
Wantagh New York state 11793
2993 Johnson Pl
Wantagh NY 11793-2836
2701 phillips Ave., charlotte, N.C. 2701 Phillips Ave
Charlotte NC 28208-7029
616 ivory
rio rancho NM, 87124
616 Ivory Rd SE
Rio Rancho NM 87124-3042

What about casing/capitalization?

We're all used to seeing addresses like this: 772 W ROLLING RD
SPRINGFIELD PA 19054-1132
Uppercase text, however, is not a USPS requirement.2 If the text is clearly printed and meets USPS OCR standards, it does not have to be all capitalized. So this would be just as valid: 772 W Rolling Rd
Springfield PA 19054-1132

SmartyStreets returns address results in Proper Case rather than UPPERCASE.3 Transforming text to ALL UPPERCASE is much easier than proper casing and is something you can do in any spreadsheet program, database application, or programming language.

  1. Publication 28 Section 211, USPS <http://pe.usps.gov/text/pub28/28c2_001.htm>
  2. Publication 28 Section 212, USPS <http://pe.usps.gov/text/pub28/28c2_002.htm>
  3. Case Closed, SmartyStreets Blog <http://smartystreets.com/archive/blog/2011/11/case-closed>