Is There a Priest Shortage? Worldwide & U.S. Statistics

The shifting demographics of the Catholic laity and priesthood throughout the world and the U.S.

  • WORLD CATHOLIC POPULATION VS. TOTAL PRIESTS
  • PRIESTS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
  • PRIESTS IN THE U.S.




    Changes in the Priesthood Throught the World, 1970 to 2000

    World Data19701980 19901995 2000
    Diocesan priests270,924257,409257,696262,418265,781
    Religious priests148,804156,191145,477142,332139,397
    Total priests419,728413,600403,173404,750405,178
    Diocesan Priestly ordinations4,622--5,9386,4446,814
    Grad. level seminarians--33,73151,60354,15455,968
    Permanent deacons3097,65417,52522,39027,824
    Religious brothers--73,09062,52659,51555,057
    Religious sisters--960,991882,111837,961801,185
    Parishes191,438206,503215,805220,077218,196
    Without Resident Priests--94,846107,566110,502105,530
    Catholic population653,500,000783,700,000928,500,000989,400,0001,045,000,000


    Changes in the Priesthood in the U.S., 1965 to 2003

    U.S. Data19651985 19952003
    Diocesan priests35,92535,05232,34929,285
    Religious priests22,70722,26516,70514,349
    Total priests58,63257,31749,05443,634
    Priestly ordinations994533511441
    Grad. level seminarians8,3254,0633,1723,414
    Permanent deacons--7,20410,93213,635
    Religious brothers12,2717,5446,5355,499
    Religious sisters179,954115,38690,80973,316
    Parishes17,63719,24419,33119,081
    Without resident priest5491,0512,1613,040
    Catholic population45,600,00052,300,00057,400,00063,400,000
    Percent of US Population24%23%23%22%


    Statistics and charts come from Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.
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