A census of religious adherence in the U.S. that reported a five percent decline in the U.S. Catholic population associated with a specific parish suggests that some dioceses need to â€œcatch upâ€ with Catholics new to their areas.
â€œOur data indicate there are fewer than 60 million Americans associated with a specific Catholic church,â€ said Clifford Grammich, a research associate with the Religious Congregation & Membership Study 2010.
The study also found that there are â€œmore than 75 million Americans who identify themselves as Catholic. In other words, there may be more than 15 million Americans who identify themselves as Catholic but who are not associated with a specific church,â€ Grammich told CNA May 3.
The study aims to provide the most complete data on U.S. religious affiliation and attendance. The data for 236 religious groups were published by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. The census study was released May 1 at a press conference during the annual meeting of the Associated Church Press in Chicago.
The Cincinnati-based Glenmary Research Center is responsible for the collection of the Catholic data for Latin and Eastern Rite parishes throughout the U.S.
In 2010, the census found 58.9 million Catholics affiliated with 20,589 congregations. Since 2000, the Catholic Church showed a loss of 1,202 congregations and 3.1 million adherents, a decrease of five percent. About 19.1 percent of the U.S. population is affiliated with a specific Catholic parish.
The religious census asked each Catholic diocese to provide the number of registered households, registered individuals, infant baptisms, deaths, and weekly Mass attendance. [More]