A friend texted me after reading Archbishop Robert J. Carlson’s message in the August-September issue of Catholic St. Louis magazine:
“…was surprised to read that we are only the 40th largest archdiocese in the country. Would love to know the 39 that are larger.. Do you know where I could find such a list? “Could not find one on Google.)”
Well, there isn’t such a list. Not an accurate one, anyway. The website catholic-heiarchy.org lists one with 10-year-old data.
But we don’t need an online source. We have John Schwob, director of pastoral planning for the archdiocese. John is our statistician and cartographer — and a bit of an historian. When we need data about the Church, we ask John. When we need maps of our parishes or where Catholic live, we ask John. And when we cannot remember which is the oldest parish, we ask John (it’s Ste. Genevieve Parish in Ste. Genevieve, by the way. It was founded in 1759, before the City of St. Louis.) John always amazes us with his sharp memory and keen eye for details.
So when we needed to confirm the data in the archbishop’s column, we turned to John. At the time, the Archdiocese of St. Louis was the 40th largest in the United States, by population. Since the magazine went to press, new data was released and now we’re #41. The source, the Official Catholic Directory, is the, well, official repository of all sorts of Catholic information for the United States. It’s a 3-inch-thick book with so much information the pages aren’t even numbered. For Catholic journalists it’s a source to confirm data. For guys guys like John, it’s good reading.
When I asked John how quickly he might produce a list of U.S. dioceses, ranked by population, he had a simple response: “I already have one.” He built it himself, based on the data he filtered from the “OCD.”
Here’s the list, ranked by population. Note that although St. Louis is #41 in the list, we have the fewest Catholics per priest — that’s good.
|U.S Dioceses by number of Catholics|
|Source: 2016 Official Catholic Directory (2015 Data)|
|Rank||Diocese||Number of Catholics||Catholics per diocesan priest||Diocesan Priests|
|1||Los Angeles CA||4,029,336||7,779||518|
|2||New York NY||2,642,740||4,434||596|
|5||Rockville Centre NY||1,455,644||4,681||311|
|6||San Bernadino CA||1,671,967||16,233||103|
|17||San Diego CA||1,012,486||6,174||164|
|21||Saint Paul-Minneapolis MN||825,000||2,350||351|
|22||San Antonio TX||758,812||5,059||150|
|24||Forth Worth TX||750,000||16,304||46|
|26||El Paso TX||693,793||9,911||70|
|34||San Jose CA||590,000||3,986||148|
|35||Las Vegas NV||584,164||16,227||36|
|41||Saint Louis MO||515,251||1,538||335|
|42||New Orleans LA||510,599||2,042||250|
|44||San Francisco CA||451,579||2,402||188|
|47||Saint Petersburg FL||445,456||2,767||161|
|53||Corpus Christi TX||409,705||3,443||119|
|56||Green Bay WI||345,870||2,071||167|
|58||Santa Fe NM||326,592||2,333||140|