Appendix IV – CARA Statistical Data

Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA)

Selected Statistical Data

Clergy, Religious, and Lay Leaders; Leaders in Formation196519751985199520052017
Total priests58,63258,90957,31749,05441,39937,181
Diocesan priests35,92536,00535,05232,34928,09425,757
Religious priests22,70722,90422,26516,70513,30511,424
Priestly ordinations994771533511454504
Graduate-level seminarians8,3255,2794,0633,1723,3083,405
Permanent deaconsna8987,20410,93214,57418,287
Permanent deacon candidatesna2,2432,2632,0262,3422,670
Religious sisters179,954135,225115,38690,80968,63445,605
Religious brothers12,2718,6257,5446,5355,4514,007
Lay professional ministers (lay persons; excluding vowed religious)10,67420,37917,722
Lay Ecclesial Ministers in parish ministry29,14630,63239,651
Enrollment in Lay Ecclesial Ministry formation programs10,50021,80016,03719,969
Parishes and the Catholic Population196519751985199520052017
Parishes17,63718,51519,24419,33118,89117,156
Parishes without a resident priest pastor5497021,0512,1613,2513,552
Canon 517.2 parishes where a bishop has entrusted the pastoral care of the parish to a deacon or some other personnana93314553347
Percentage of diocesan priests active94%88%84%76%70%63%
Active diocesan priests per parish21.71.51.211
The Official Catholic Directory population46.3m48.7m52.3m57.4m64.8m68.5m
Catholic population (self-identified, survey-based estimate)48.5m54.5m59.5m65.7m74.0m74.3m
Foreign-born adult Catholics (survey-based estimate)4.7m4.8m7.0m15.8m16.9m
Former Catholic adults:(1)7.5m8.0m17.3m19.1m30.0m
Religious Education196519751985199520052017
Primary school-age children in parish religious education3.448m3.880m3.106m3.287m3.438m2.483m
Secondary school-age teens in parish religious education1.357m1.009m831,331749,377787,033603,384
Catholic elementary schools10,6678,4147,7646,9646,1225,178
Students in Catholic elementary schools4.431m2.557m2.005m1.815m1.559m1.306m
Catholic secondary schools1,5271,6241,4251,2801,3251,201
Students in Catholic secondary schools689,264884,181774,216638,440653,226577,277
Catholic colleges and universities305245243231229225
Students in Catholic colleges and universities409,471432,597545,461653,927752,718764,448
Sacraments and Rites196519751985199520052017
Baptisms of infants in previous year.1.310m894,992953,323981,444929,545660,367
Baptisms of other minors in previous year65,855
Baptisms of adults in previous year126,20980,03587,99666,88676,60538,374
Receptions into full communion in previous year76,17673,40264,106
Confirmations in previous year555,767610,282564,158
First Communions in previous year794,576807,066702,148
Marriages in previous year352,458369,133348,300294,144207,112144,148
Annulments initiated in previous year — —60,69157,01833,72722,631
Funerals in previous year387,739406,497446,822455,477445,616386,126
Attending Mass every week. Prior to 2000, Gallup estimates. From 2000 the CARA Catholic Poll (CCP).55%42%41%35%23%23%
Social and Health Services196519751985199520052017
Catholic hospitals800657631600571545
Patients served in Catholic hospitals in previous year16.9m29.9m36.6m56.4m84.7m90.6m
Value of services provided by Catholic Charities in previous year$361m$514m$1.655b$2.696b$3.124b

1.Those raised Catholic who no longer self-identify as Catholic. As the largest religion in the U.S., Catholicism has the largest number of former members. Catholicism has a higher retention rate than most other religions in the U.S. (including all Protestant denominations).