May 24, 2024

USA: Decline in parishes in many urban dioceses

A new report shows that the total number of parishes in many U.S. dioceses has declined over the past 50 years even as both the total population and the total Catholic population have grown — and the data points to changes in where American Catholics live today.

The study, titled “Ecclesiastical, Ecclesiastical and Socio-Economic Statistics for Eleven Dioceses Between 1970 and 2020,” was published on April 4. Center for Applied Research in Apostolate (CARA) Published by Georgetown University, Washington. CARA's 775-page report was prepared by the Cleveland-based nonprofit The Church of the Future It sought insights into trends in 11 largely urban Roman Catholic dioceses and archbishops in the Northeast and Midwest of the country: Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis, and the dioceses of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Cleveland and Memphis, Tennessee.

The study, conducted between the fall of 2022 and the spring of 2023, relied on data from the Official Catholic Directory, the American Decennial Religious Census (published by the Association of Statisticians for American Religious Organizations), and various compilations from the U.S. Census Bureau. Neighborhood Change Database and the American Community Survey, as well as the Census Bureau's GeoCoder database,, and diocese data.

Not a representative study, but…

CARA stressed that the dioceses and archdiocese listed in the report are “tailored to the specific needs” and are “not intended to constitute a nationally representative sample.” The Church of the Future was elected. But the numbers must consider the growth of the church. Among the dioceses and archdiocese listed, CARA found a 9 percent decline in parishes between 1970 and 2020, and “an average decline of 27 percent per diocese as new dioceses were created during this period. At the same time, the total population of all dioceses in the United States increased by 65 percent between 1970 and 2020.” , the report states that the total Catholic population grew by 46 percent.In addition, the overall size of Catholic communities in the United States grew by a total of 60 percent.

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Among individual decisions: Archbishop Miami Parishes recorded the smallest decline (2 percent), while archdiocese Detroit recorded the largest decline at 28 percent. Archbishop New York The most significant increase (118 percent) was recorded, with the total number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Miami shrinking by 13 percent. Archbishops Chicago (187), Detroit (146), New York (111) and Philadelphia (104), most parishes closed between the 1970s and 2010s. At the same time, New York has 276 open communities. Diocese Memphis Only two parishes were closed Baltimore, Bridgeport and Miami finished 23rd, 20th and 17th, respectively.

(ucan – mg)