Catholic School Data
The National Catholic Educational Association conducts Catholic education research as well as providing private education resources for a range of audiences. Information contained within these pages include Catholic school data. NCEA published selected results from NCEA's annual survey of Catholic elementary and secondary schools, including enrollment patterns, regional geographic trends, types and locations of schools, student and staffing demographic characteristics, and student participation in selected education programs .
United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools 2017-2018: 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
- Total Catholic school student enrollment for the current academic year is 1,835,376.
- 1,274,162 in elementary/middle schools; 561,214 in secondary schools
- Student diversity: 20.8% are racial minorities, 17.4% are Hispanic/Latino and 6.5% were reported as unknown in the racial data collection.
- Non-Catholic enrollment is 349,139 which is 19.0% of the total enrollment.
*The reported number of schools closed includes some that consolidated and re-opened as new entities. The total reported opened is 16 which includes newly built as well as the reconfigured entities. The net loss of elementary schools is 66 and the net loss of secondary schools is 11.
- There are 6,352 Catholic schools: 5,158 elementary; 1,194 secondary.
- 16 new schools opened; 110 consolidated or closed.*
- 1,872 schools have a waiting list for admission
- Coeducational schools comprise 98.7% of elementary and 70.4% of secondary schools. At the secondary level, 12.6% of the schools are male and 17.0% are female.
Full-time equivalent professional staff numbered 153,289:
- 97.4%: Laity (Lay women: 74.8% Lay men: 22.6%)
- 2.6%: Religious/Clergy (Sisters: 1.6%; Brothers: 0.5%; Clergy: 0.5%)
The student/teacher ratio is 12:1.
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 through 2000, there was a steady enrollment increase (1.3%) despite continued closings of schools.
In the 10 years since the 2008 school year, 1,336 schools were reported closed or consolidated (18.1%), while 270 school openings were reported. Due to different definitions used by dioceses for consolidations, closings and their transitions into new configurations, along with actual new schools opened, the actual decrease in number of schools since 2008 is 1,026 schools (13.9%). The number of students declined by 435,537 (19.2%).
The most seriously impacted have been elementary schools. Since 2008, elementary school enrollment has declined by 27.5% in the 12 urban dioceses and 19.4% in the rest of the U.S.
While the reported closures in the twelve large urban areas of the country is 476 over the past decade, the actual decrease in number of elementary schools in those dioceses since 2008 is 338 schools (19.9%). This is due to the same reasons stated above for the overall numbers.
There has been some good news as well during the 2008-2018 period as 297 new schools opened in all parts of the country.