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What is Address Standardization?

Address standardization is the process of making an address compliant with the postal address standards of a particular country. 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."1The process of standardizing an address is most often performed by using an address standardization service.

It is important to note that standardizing an address does NOT guarantee validity or deliverability of an address.

Once standardized, an address will be complete, including the addition of any missing city, state, or ZIP Code information. And, all of the individual address components will be formatted with USPS-approved spelling and abbreviations. The address can then be compared against the official database of known addresses to see if it matches an address in that database. If a match is found, the address is determined to be "valid". This process is known as address validation.

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 someoneStandardized 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. 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.

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