New statistics show U.S. Catholics increase in numbers

.- The 2009 Official Catholic Directory has released new statistics on the Catholic population. The directory shows that there are 68.1 million Catholics in the United States, an increase of about one million from the previous year which maintains Catholics as 22 percent of the U.S. population.

The directory, also known as the Kenedy Directory, reports that there are 41,489 diocesan and religious order priests, 60,715 religious sisters, 4,905 religious brothers and 16,935 permanent deacons. In 2008 there were 887,145 infant baptisms, 42,629 adult baptisms, and 81,775 baptized Christians who entered full communion with the Church. The Kenedy Directory lists 18,674 parishes, including 91 new parishes, and 189 seminaries with 4,973 students.

Over 722,000 students are in high school religious education programs, while over three million are in elementary school religious ed.

There are 6,133 Catholic elementary schools and 1.6 million students. The country’s 1,341 Catholic high schools educate over 674,000 students, while 234 Catholic colleges and universities serve, over 795,000 students.

U.S. Catholic hospitals number 562 and serve almost 85.3 million patients, while 3009 Catholic social service centers assist 27.2 million people annually.

According to a press release from the U.S. bishops' conference, Catholic organizations in the United States provide an estimated $28.2 billion in services through institutions represented by the Catholic Health Association ($5.7 billion), Catholic Charities USA ($3.5 billion), and the National Catholic Education Association ($19.8 billion).

These figures do not include assistance provided through parishes and other organizations such as the Knights of Columbus.

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