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 Data 1970 1980 1990 1995 2000
    Diocesan priests 270,924 257,409 257,696 262,418 265,781
    Religious priests 148,804 156,191 145,477 142,332 139,397
    Total priests 419,728 413,600 403,173 404,750 405,178
    Diocesan Priestly ordinations 4,622 -- 5,938 6,444 6,814
    Grad. level seminarians -- 33,731 51,603 54,154 55,968
    Permanent deacons 309 7,654 17,525 22,390 27,824
    Religious brothers -- 73,090 62,526 59,515 55,057
    Religious sisters -- 960,991 882,111 837,961 801,185
    Parishes 191,438 206,503 215,805 220,077 218,196
    Without Resident Priests -- 94,846 107,566 110,502 105,530
    Catholic population 653,500,000 783,700,000 928,500,000 989,400,000 1,045,000,000


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

    U.S. Data 1965 1985 1995 2003
    Diocesan priests 35,925 35,052 32,349 29,285
    Religious priests 22,707 22,265 16,705 14,349
    Total priests 58,632 57,317 49,054 43,634
    Priestly ordinations 994 533 511 441
    Grad. level seminarians 8,325 4,063 3,172 3,414
    Permanent deacons -- 7,204 10,932 13,635
    Religious brothers 12,271 7,544 6,535 5,499
    Religious sisters 179,954 115,386 90,809 73,316
    Parishes 17,637 19,244 19,331 19,081
    Without resident priest 549 1,051 2,161 3,040
    Catholic population 45,600,000 52,300,000 57,400,000 63,400,000
    Percent of US Population 24% 23% 23% 22%


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