The National Catholic Educational Association has released its United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools 2012-2013 annual report. Overall, it shows a continued decrease in both Catholic schools and students.
The past four decades have seen a significant decrease in the total number of Catholic schools. Catholic school enrollment reached its peak in the early 1960s with an enrollment of more than 5.2 million in nearly 13,000 schools. By 1990, there were 2.5 million students in 8,719 schools. Between 1990 through 2000, there was a steady enrollment increase despite continued school closings. Between 2000 and 2013, 2,090 schools were reported closed or consolidated, and the number of students declined by 24.5 percent.
For the current academic year, total Catholic school enrollment is just over 2 million students, with 1.4 million in elementary and middle schools and 586,496 in secondary schools. Of that total, 15.9 percent are non-Catholic.
Over the past year, 28 schools have opened, while 148 have consolidated or closed. There are 6,685 Catholic schools: 5,472 elementary and 1,213 secondary.
The average tuition fees paid by families for parish elementary schools is $3,673,and for secondary schools is $9,622. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average public school per pupil cost is $10,652.
Catholic schools are largely staffed by lay faculty. Only 3.2% of the professional staff are religious and clergy.
Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.