The number of Catholic priests in the United States is drastically declining. Back in 1970, there were around 8,000 students in U.S. seminaries, a number which plummeted to 1,300 by 2009. In 1970, the number of Catholic priests was close to 60,000 but by 2018, that had fallen significantly to just 25,254, according to CARA.
It isn’t all bad news for the Catholic Church, however. Worldwide, the number of priests has remained relatively constant over the past five decades. In 1980, there were 413,600 Catholic priests spread across the world. By 2017, this had risen to 414,582.
This chart shows the number of Catholic priests in the United States and worldwide from 1970 to 2018.
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