United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools 2014-2015:
The Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment, and Staffing

 

This annual report presents national data on Catholic elementary and secondary schools. Enrollment patterns, regional geographic trends, types and locations of schools, student and staffing demographic characteristics and student participation in selected education programs are reported. Where data permit, the exhibits compare information across the last decade as well as the past five years.

Summary information that NCEA collects about Catholic schools is provided on this website. NCEA does not collect or provide data about public schools or comparisons between public and private schools.  There is no national database that does this. Public school information, as well as some government reports about private schools may be found in the section titled Federal Government Education Statistics.
 
The full report may be purchased from the NCEA online store.
 
 
Learn about:
  • Schools and Enrollment History
  • School Staffing History
  • Public/Private School Comparisons
  • Percentage Distribution of Schools by Enrollment Size
  • Percentage Distribution of Private Schools by Typology
  • Percentage Distribution of Students in Private Schools by Typology
  • Regional Distribution of Elementary/Middle and Secondary Schools
  • Location of Schools
  • Schools by Types of Governance
  • Schools with Boards/Commissions/Councils
  • Single Gender Schools
  • School Openings and Closings
  • Enrollment by Grade Level
  • Enrollment by Region
  • Student Enrollment: States with Ten Highest Enrollments
  • Student Enrollment: Dioceses with Largest Enrollments
  • Diocesan Enrollment Patterns
  • Schools with Waiting Lists
  • Average Tuition and Per Pupil Costs
  • Catholic School Enrollment and Percentages by Race
  • Hispanic/Latino Enrollment
  • Non-Catholic Enrollment
  • Full-Time Equivalent Professional Staff
  • Student/Teacher Ratio
  • Non-Catholic Faculty Numbers and Percentages
  • Faculty Numbers and Percentages by Ethnic Background
  • Schools with Extended Day Programs
  • Students Receiving Title 1 Services
  • Participation in Federal Nutrition Programs
  • Students Receiving Government Subsidized/Free Transportation to School
  • Schools with Student Access to Internet

 

Highlights

Enrollment

  • Total Catholic school student enrollment for the current academic year is 1,939,574.
    • 1,359,969 in elementary/middle schools; 579,605 in secondary schools
  • Student diversity: 20.4% are racial minorities, 15.3% are Hispanic/Latino and 6.3% were reported as unknown in the racial data collection.
  • Non-Catholic enrollment is 328,690 which is 16.9% of the total enrollment. 
 

Schools

  • There are 6,568 Catholic schools: 5,368 elementary; 1,200 secondary.
  • 27 new schools opened; 88 consolidated or closed.
  • 2,044 schools have a waiting list for admission.
  • The student/teacher ratio is 13:1.
 

Professional Staff

  • Full-time equivalent professional staff numbered 150,709:  
    • 97.2%: Laity (Lay women: 75.2% Lay men: 22.0%)
    • 2.8%:   Religious/Clergy    (Sisters: 1.9%; Brothers: 0.4%; Clergy: 0.5%)
 
 

Catholic School Trend Data 

U. S. Catholic school enrollment reached its peak during the early 1960s when there were more than 5.2 million students in almost thirteen thousand schools across the nation.  The 1970s and 1980s saw a steep decline in both the number of schools and students.  By 1990, there were approximately 2.5 million students in 8,719 schools.   From the mid 1990s though 2000, there was a steady enrollment increase (1.3%) despite continued closings of schools.
 
In the 10 years since the 2005 school year, 1,648 schools were reported closed or consolidated (21.1%), while 336 school openings were reported. The number of students declined by 481,016 (19.9%). The most seriously impacted have been elementary schools.
 
Exhibit 20 details the reported school closures.  The actual decrease in number of elementary schools in the twelve large urban areas of the country since 2005 is 430 schools (23.3%).
 
Exhibit 22 presents the national and elementary enrollment trend data. Since 2005, elementary school enrollment has declined by 30.0% in the 12 urban dioceses and 20.4% in the rest of the U.S.

 

Enrollment

  • Total Catholic school student enrollment for the current academic year is 1,939,574.
    • 1,359,969 in elementary/middle schools; 579,605 in secondary schools
  • Student diversity: 20.4% are racial minorities, 15.3% are Hispanic/Latino and 6.3% were reported as unknown in the racial data collection.
    • Non-Catholic enrollment is 328,690 which is 16.9% of the total enrollment. 
 

Enrollment by Grade Level: EXHIBIT 15    

 

2004-2005

2009-2010

2014-2015

Grade Level

Students

%

Students

%

Students

%

Preschool

150,905

8.4

150,262

9.8

156,380

11.3

Kindergarten

182,101

10.2

151,348

9.9

136,853

9.9

Grade 1

185,362

10.3

151,324

9.9

134,074

9.7

Grade 2

184,621

10.3

149,611

9.8

134,606

9.7

Grade 3

185,052

10.3

151,255

9.9

133,884

9.7

Grade 4

185,039

10.3

152,704

10.0

133,685

9.7

Grade 5

182,660

10.2

152,370

10.0

135,872

9.8

Grade 6

182,849

10.2

155,186

10.2

139,159

10.1

Grade 7

178,104

10.0

154,042

10.1

135,583

9.8

Grade 8

174,796

9.7

156,224

10.2

137,611

10.0

Ungraded

2,284

0.1

1,918

0.1

4,588

0.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Total Preschool - 8

1,793,773

100.0

1,526,244

100.0

1,382,295

100.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 9

168,819

26.9

151,749

25.6

143,525

25.8

Grade 10

159,773

25.5

150,239

25.3

141,059

25.3

Grade 11

151,819

24.2

146,152

24.6

137,495

24.6

Grade 12

145,187

23.2

144,391

24.3

134,049

24.1

Ungraded

1,219

0.2

566

0.1

1,151

0.2

                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Total 9 - 12

626,817

100.0

593,097

100.0

557,279

100.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND TOTAL

2,420,590

100.0

2,119,341

100.0

1,939,574

100.0

* NB: Because some elementary schools have a ninth grade and some secondary schools have grades 6-8 in their totals, this distribution does not match that in Exhibits 16 and 26.

 

Enrollment by Region: EXHIBIT 16

The national enrollment data, charted by region in Exhibit 16, show that the Mideast and Great Lakes regions enroll almost half the Catholic school population (46.3%).  This percentage does indicate a decline from 50.9% over the past decade.

 

 

2004-2005

2009-2010

2014-2015

All Schools

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

New England

151,588

6.3

125,463

5.9

110,011

5.7

Mideast

677,103

28.0

540,670

25.5

454,392

23.4

Great Lakes

553,400

22.9

478,955

22.6

443,464

22.9

Plains

237,488

9.8

219,001

10.3

203,271

10.5

Southeast

352,080

14.5

328,046

15.5

315,894

16.3

West/Far West

448,931

18.5

427,206

20.2

412,542

21.2

United States

2,484,252

100.0

2,192,531

100.0

1,974,578

100.0

                              
 

Enrollment of Non-Catholics: EXHIBIT 27

Most Catholic school students are Catholic.  However, non-Catholic student enrollment has risen from 2.7% in 1970 to 11.2% a decade later and today is 16.9% as shown in Exhibit 27.

 

 

Elementary/Middle

Secondary

All Schools

 

Number

% in Region

Number

% in Region

Number

% in Region

New England

12,441

18.1%

7,906

19.2%

20,347

18.5%

Mideast

55,507

18.4%

31,472

20.7%

 86,979

19.1%

Great Lakes

47,885

14.7%

23,078

19.8%

70,963

16.0%

Plains

15,255

10.1%

6,317

12.2%

21,572

10.6%

Southeast

39,083

17.5%

19,352

20.9%

58,441

18.5%

West/Far West

  36,343

12.6%

34,045

27.2%

70,388

17.1%

United States

206,520

15.2%

  122,170

21.1%

      328,690

16.7%

 

National Totals           

Number

%

Catholic

1,564,265

80.6%

Non-Catholic

328,690

16.9%

Not Reported

46,619

2.4%

Total

1,939,574

100.0%

 

Staffing of Catholic Schools: EXHIBIT 28

In 2014-2015, the total, full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools is 150,709. Over the past decade, the lay faculty percentages increased from 93% to the current 97.2%.  At present, 2.8% of the professional staff are religious and clergy.  Exhibit 28 presents the FTE data by category and percentage.

 

 

Elementary

%

Secondary

%

All Schools

%

Sisters

1,949

2.0

817

1.6

2,766

1.8

Brothers

122

0.1

511

1.0

633

0.4

Clergy

257

0.3

545

1.1

802

0.5

Female Lay

85,654

86.2

27,620

53.8

113,274

75.2

Male Lay

11,046

11.4

21,828

42.5

33,234

22.1

*Total

99,388

100.0

51,321

100.0

150,709

100.0

*Adjusted totals to reflect weighted averages.

  • Lay: 97.2%
  • Religious/Clergy: 2.8%

Schools and Tuition

Regional Distribution

Exhibit 9 presents the number of schools within each of the regions with the percentages of the distribution indicated by level of the schools and the national composite.  Almost half of all the schools (45.9%) are located within the Mideast and Great Lakes regions.

 

 Regional Distribution of Catholic Schools: EXHIBIT 9

  

 

2004-2005

2009-2010

2014-2015

Totals of all schools

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

New England

518

7.4

431

6.1

409

6.2

Mideast

2,056

26.7

1,732

24.4

1,438

21.9

Great Lakes

1,890

20.6

1,697

23.9

1,577

24.0

Plains

901

11.3

848

12.0

805

12.3

Southeast

991

14.9

958

13.5

936

14.2

West/Far West

1,443

19.1

1,428

20.1

1,403

21.4

United States

7,799

100.0

7,094

100.0

6,568

100.0

                                                                                             

 

Location of SchoolsEXHIBIT 10

Although there has been a significant decrease in the total number of Catholic schools during the past four decades, the church has not lost sight of its commitment to educate children, particularly those of the poor, within the inner cities and urban areas.  Schools in these areas remain a significant presence: four decades ago 47.9% were located in urban and inner city areas, today 41.3% of the schools are still in urban/inner city locales despite population losses and great financial difficulties in maintaining them.  During that same period of time, suburban schools increased from 25.0% to 37.7% of the total.

 

 

Elementary/Middle

Secondary

National Totals

 

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Urban

1,547

28.9

443

36.9

1,990

30.3

Inner-City

587

10.9

134

11.2

721

11.0

Suburban

2,046

38.1

432

36.0

2,478

37.7

Rural

1,188

22.1

191

15.9

1,379

21.0

Total

5,368

100.0

1,200

100.0

6,568

100.0

 

Single Gender SchoolsEXHIBIT 13

The 2014-2015 data indicate that 1.3% of all Catholic elementary schools are single gender and 30.9 % of secondary are single gender.  Exhibit 13 illustrates their distribution.

 

 

Number

 %

           Elementary/Middle

70

1.3%  of elementary schools

           Secondary

371

30.9%  of secondary schools

           Total Single Gender

441

6.8%  of all schools

 

 

Tuition and Costs:  EXHIBIT 24

Tuition fees paid by families constitute a portion of the actual per pupil expenses.  The average per pupil tuition in parish elementary schools is $3,880 which is approximately 68.1% of actual costs per pupil of $5,847.  About 93.9% of elementary schools provide some form of tuition assistance.  

The secondary mean freshman tuition is $9,622 which is approximately 81.6% of actual costs per pupil of $11,790.  About 97% of secondary schools provide some form of tuition assistance.

The difference between the per pupil cost and the tuition charged is obtained in many ways, primarily through direct subsidy from parish, diocesan or religious congregation resources and from multi-faceted development programs and fund-raising activities.


 

Average Tuition and Per Pupil Costs

Elementary

Mean parish school tuition:             $3,880.            Per pupil cost:  $5,847.

Secondary

Mean freshman tuition:                    $9,622             Per pupil cost:  $11,790.

 

The average public school per pupil cost of $11,770, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, includes both elementary and secondary schools. (On average, secondary school costs are higher than elementary, but are not reported separately.)

Based on the public schools cost, Catholic schools provide almost $22 billion dollars a year savings for the nation.


 

 

Student Race and Ethnicity

Student diversity in Catholic schools has increased significantly in the past 40 years.  When data were first collected, the Hispanic/Latino population was included and the reports listed non-Whites as “minorities.”  In 1970, the diversity percentage was 10.8%, in 1980 it had increased to 19.4% and by 2010 was 29.8%.  In 2015, the racial diversity is 20.4% and Hispanic/Latino is 15.3%.  NCEA will no longer use the minority identifier, but instead report racial and ethnic diversity separately.

  

Catholic School Enrollment and Percentages by Race: EXHIBIT 26a    

 

 

Elementary/Middle

Secondary

All Schools

 

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

American Indian/ Native Alaskan

10,762

0.8%

3,276

0.6%

14,038

0.7%

Asian

67,277

4.9%

32,927

5.7%

100,204

5.2%

Black

99,356

7.3%

51,116

8.8%

150,472

7.8%

Native Hawaiian/ Pacific islander

11,669

0.9%

3,477

0.6%

15,413

0.8%

Multiracial

86,897

6.4%

29,203

5.0%

116,100

6.0%

White

998,396

73.4%

422,788

72.9%

1,421,184

73.3%

Unknown

85,612

6.3%

36,551

6.3%

122,163

6.3%

Total

1,359,969

100.0%

579,605

100.0%

1,939,574

100.0%

                                                                                   

Hispanic/Latino Enrollment and Percentages: EXHIBIT 26b

 

 

Elementary/Middle

Secondary

All Schools

 

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

New England

5,829

8.5%

2,496

6.0%

8,325

7.6%

Mideast

40,711

13.5%

16,285

10.7%

57,926

12.7%

Great Lakes

35,180

10.8%

10,786

9.2%

42,808

9.7%

Plains

19,336

12.8%

5,8223

11.3%

13,708

6.7%

Southeast

33,137

14.8%

13,500

14.6%

43,262

13.7%

West/Far West

94,114

32.8%

31,947

25.5%

130,874

31.7%

Total

228,307

16.8%

80,837

13.9%

296,903

15.3%

 

 

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP ) Results

Private school results on NAEP and other national assessments, where separate data are available, can be found on by following the links below.

 

 

SAT Results

 

Private School Studies and Report

 

International Studies

Statistical Resources for Nonpublic Schools

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has prepared a comprehensive guide to statistical reports dealing with different aspects of private schools.  A Guide to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Surveys, Studies, and Reports of Interest to the Private and Home School Communities is available here.  The guide is arranged by categories listed below.

  • Primary Surveys and Studies Involving Private Schools and Homeschooling
  • Private School Universe Survey  (PSS)
  • Schools and Staffing Survey  (SASS )
  • National Household Education Surveys Program)  (NHES)
  • National Assessment of Educational Progress  (NAEP)

 

Other Reports

  • Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99  (ECLS-K)
  • Education Longitudinal Study of 2002  (ELS:2002
  • Current Population Survey  (CPS):  October Supplement

 

Annual Reports

  • Condition of Education  (COE)
  • Digest of Education Statistics  (Digest)

 

Links to each of the individual reports can be found here.

Data Forms for 2015-2016

Databank Data Collection Forms: The hard copy pdf forms for the annual collection of statistical information for Catholic Schools are available for download and copying. These forms cannot be used for electronic submission of data.

Click here for the new directions for reporting Race and Ethnicity.
 

Electronic Submission of Data

 

For Schools:

Instead of the paper form, an Excel Workbook for school reporting is available. The form includes sheets with the Instructions and Race/Ethnicity guidelines. This form must be submitted to the Diocesan Schools Office, not to NCEA.
 

For Diocesan Schools Office:

Instead of the paper form, an Excel Workbook for the Diocesan Data Summary is available.  It can be downloaded and completed electronically and returned to NCEA via email when completed. This is only for Diocesan Education Offices.  Click here to obtain the form. Be sure and save the Excel Workbook to your local computer after opening the form.

A second school form  can be modified by the Diocesan Schools Office to collect additional data from each school. After it is modified by the Schools Office, it can be distributed to each school.