Just the Facts: Catholic Education in the United States

Just the Facts: Catholic Education in the United States
June 1, 2001

The U.S.'s 16,288 Catholic schools and 167,000 teachers represent the largest non-government school system in the country, serving 2.6 million students, or about 5 percent of the nation's K-12 population. But more than 3,000 Catholic grade schools and half of all Catholic high schools have closed since the 1960s, when the system's share of students was 12.6 percent.

That's because Catholic parents have become less likely to send their children to Catholic schools for their education, explains DePaul University economics professor William Sander in his new book, Catholic Schools: Private and Social Effects. While almost 60 percent of Catholic children born in the 1950s would spend at least one year in a Catholic school, only 20 percent of Catholic children of grade school age attended Catholic schools in 1991.

Ten Largest Private School Systems 2000-2001
(All are Catholic Archdiocese)
 
Change vs.

a Year Ago
School System State Students Schools Students Schools
1 Chicago Illinois 127,758 312 (1,920) 0
2 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 117,640 276 (1,479) (3)
3 New York New York 113,182 293 (31) 0
4 Los Angeles California 103,062 278 2,073 0
5 Brooklyn New York 72,361 174 (434) (2)
6 Cleveland Ohio 64,889 167 (1,162) 0
7 St. Louis Missouri 59,080 185 8 (1)
8 Newark New Jersey 58,122 176 (2,333) (3)
9 Cincinnati Ohio 57,269 136 (356) 4
10 Boston Massachusetts 56,398 163 1,533 0
Source: National Catholic Educational Association