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Roman Catholic Priests


The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts average employment growth for clergy in general through 2029. There is a shortage of priests in the Roman Catholic Church, however, with the number of priests having declined by nearly 40 percent since 1970 because of retirement and those leaving the profession for other reasons. Opportunities for positions in the priesthood are increasing and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In 2019, there were 24,857 diocesan priests and 11,072 religious priests serving the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Both numbers showed a slight decline from 2015. Priests are needed in all areas of the country, but the greatest need is in metropolitan areas that have large Catholic populations and in communities near Catholic educational institutions.

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