Friday, November 19, 2010

2009: The Numbers

The 2009 statistics came out late this year, perhaps because of the need to get correct numbers for Ft. Worth and Quincy. At any rate, the diocesan totals can be found here.

Perhaps more interesting are the five year "fast facts", which contains a mixture of depressingly constant trends and curious statistical surprises. For instance, one can see that the rate of decline in membership and ASA has been fairly constant, but the five and especially ten year rates of decline have been growing. The median parish numbers have slid too, with a five year decline of 10% in membership and 12% in ASA. These numbers are each two percentage points smaller than the composite rates, indicating that not only are parishes shrinking, but that parishes are disappearing too. And looking at the top of the report, we see steady losses: a 4.2% decline over five years, with the rate increasing in the last two years.

Of course, at that point we are seeing the results from the departure of dioceses. The biggest decline in ASA, 65.5%, comes from Pittsburgh; second place is Ft. Worth, with 18.7%. Quincy, curiously, is among the gainers, at 3.4%. Twelve other domestic dioceses showed gains, but before we get all excited at this turn-around, it should be noted that only three dioceses had increases of over a hundred attendees, and only three domestic dioceses showed a increase greater than the domestic decrease decrease, all of them small: Utah, San Joaquin, and Quincy.

If one takes out Ft. Worth and Pittsburgh, then the declines are not so bad: a 2.4% decline in ASA instead of 3.2% for all domestic dioceses. Foreign dioceses, as usual, blunted the overall numbers. Haiti, however, did not report numbers this year, and as it accounts for a third of foreign membership and ASA, those numbers have to be considered very dubiously. Meanwhile, the drop in P&P continues, accelerating to 2.8%.