Annulment Stats....Looking for data

A while back there was a thread on annulments and in the course of discussion various people posted numbers and percentages that “sounded” impressive but when they were looked at more closely - there impressive nature sort of wore off…For example someone posted a percentage that like 97% of all annulment applications were granted. It was pointed out that without additional data, a percentage like that means nothing at all. After all if there are only 100 applications and 97 are approved…that equals 97%…:shrug:
Likewise if half the people who talk to a priest about applying end up not applying because they are told they have no case…this radically effects the meaning of the percentage…

Some people did post some good information on the matter - though not much detail. It seems that maybe there isn’t a great deal of info out in public sources…

Anyway…I’ve tired to find the old thread a couple of times without success and decided to simply ask - - -
If anyone has data, with sources on numbers applied for numbers granted - breakdown by type / cause etc…anything at all that can actually be realistically looked at and evaluated realistically evaluated Please put it here and this could be a resource for addressing the various concerns that are sure to be expressed in the future…



Here is a recent post that has stats.

Reposting here:

Source: 2005 Catholic Almanac
Annulment statistics for 2002
(the most recent year figures are available)
– Annulment hearings, worldwide: 56,246
– Annulments granted, worldwide: 46,092
Annulments by continent:
-Africa: 343
-Oceania: 676
-Asia: 1,562
-Europe: 8,855
-North America: 30,968
-South and Central America: 5,688

I don’t know if you are going to find the in-depth analysis you are searching for. Who would fund this kind of research?

Maybe all of the people who are grousing about how many annulments there are…:smiley:

Just kidding folks…

Thanks for the stats and link.


I think the information would be interesting if the church released it. I have a feeling they wouldn’t release the stats. It would be great if the stats showed that the majority are prior bond decrees like the one I received.

Some things are released…But not sure how much detail or analysis is done or possible on what is released.


In looking through the thread that Truelight linked to I found this from chaunceygardner in Post number 47…
I tried to find some hard numbers on the number of Catholic marriages annually, to compare with annulment stats, but have struck out so far. But I did find a report from 2007, commissioned by the USCCB and done by Georgetown U, called “Marriage in the Catholic Church”. It is 187 pages of interesting info about adult Catholics and matrimony. Here are a few items that might address the topic of this discussion.

The report confirms other info that I have seen that about 20% of Catholics end up divorced. That varies by generation and other demographics. But only 15% of divorced Catholics have sought an annulment, and about half of those were granted. The report doesn’t clarify what “sought an annulment” means, so some of those may be people who inquired, who perhaps started the process and did not complete it, or were advised against it. But the numbers seem to indicate that only about 1%-2% of Catholic marriages are being annulled.

76% of the adult Catholics surveyed believed divorce was acceptable in “some cases”. The top circumstances were: physical abuse (96%), Emotional Abuse (92%), Infidelity (85%), Addictive behavior (72%). However, fewer than 30% agreed that divorce is usually the best solution. 71% agreed, “at least somewhat, that couples do not take marriage seriously enough when divorce is easily available”.

Adequate preparation may be a big issue in the failure of marriages. The report says that “divorced and separated Catholics are less likely to have discussed each of these topics prior to marriage”: trust and commitment, openness to having children, intimacy or sexuality, family backgrounds or history, and parenting approaches.

We have often heard the “old saw” about communicating, but this survey indicates that this is important. Currently married Catholics label “Finances” as the most challenging aspect of their relationship, and place communication issues third, and trust & commitment issues 8th. For divorced Catholics, communication issues was number one, followed by trust & commitment issues. This may help indicate what goes into the make-up of a successful and happy marriage vs. a problem marriage, with trust and honest and open communication with your spouse very important factors.
end quote

James heres a link to ed peters site . i believe it has some information that would be of interest . heres a link to ed peters site .

Great Article…Even if it is “older” (1996) it is well worth the read…

Thanks for the link…


From another thread…additional good information…from a person “in the system”…
“lack of form” cases have nothing to do with “laxity” or marital capacity or “Rotal jurisprudence.” Indeed, they account for a great many cases but you cannot fault tribunals for this: the Council of Trent introduced this and it has been mandated since then, by Popes. The requirements of canonical form are clear and the consequence of not observing them are certain.
As can be seen from this, “Lack of form” accounts for a “great many” cases (I wonder what the percentage is?) The article linked a couple of posts up says:
But, second only to annulments based on Canon 1095, more U.S. annulments are based on violations of canonical form than on any other cause. In 1991, for example, nearly 18,700 of the 63,900 American declarations of nullity were based on violations of canonical form.
That is nearly is between 1/4 and 1/3 of all the annulments issued.
Such cases are something I suspect was considerably less prevalent in the pre-Vatican II Church.



That person seems to know what he’s talking about, if I don’t say so myself. As far as a percentage, 1/3 is certainly reasonable. Maybe a little higher. I’ve never bothered to crunch the numbers myself.

Yes, old-time Catholics wouldn’t have considered marrying “outside the Church.” Perhaps the wide-scale dismissal/ignorance regarding canonical form is a meaningful insight into the overall perception of marriage which people tend to have these days. Culturally, marriage is turning into more and more of a “do it yourself” and “make it up as you go” relationship. We don’t even need a man and woman anymore, in the opinion of a growing number of people.

Anyway, every Tribunal must make an accounting of its activity each year and send the information to the Apostolic Signatura. Each year, in turn, the Secretary of State of the Holy See publishes the Statistical Yearbook and I imagine that is where the previously-cited (in this thread) numbers originated. The Roman Rota also makes its activity known in a yearly publication.

Occasionally, a canon law publication will include these sorts of statistics. The Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland in their quarterly newsletter, for example, and the Canon Law Society of America in the yearly convention Proceedings usually have stats for most of each of these countries.

It might be fun to write a letter to the Signatura–as just a person in the pew–and ask for the tribunal statistics, and see what they say in response. The numbers aren’t secret but I don’t know that they’d hand them out to a random individual. Instead, they’d probably direct you to the aforementioned statistical yearbook.


So they would refer one to this yearbook but how would one see a copy? Can a copy be purchased?
There is a Seminary (Athenaeum) near me - would they be likely to have one in their library?



They might. I have never seen the Statistical Yearbook (Annuario Statistico) myself–it is more common to see the Pontifical Yearbook (Annuario Pontificio). Even if the library has a copy, it will be in Italian. That being the case, you might want to also look for the CLSGBI Newsletter and/or the CLSA Proceedings, which I mentioned earlier.

Yes, you can purchase it but I don’t know where you would do that or if you can do it online. Again, you’d be dealing with Italian websites (or literature). You can do an internet search for the Annuario Statistico Vaticano (or something like that) and see what happens…


Thanks Dan


Annulment statistics are published every year in the Studia Canonica magazine. Tribunals have to submit their stats every year.
Also, Lack of Form cases are not annulments.

Now that I think about it, maybe it’s not Studia Canonica, but a different magazine…Canon Law Society I believe.
Email St. Paul’s University and ask, or Catholic University of America. They’re the only 2 universities in North America that teach canon law, so they’ll know for sure where to find stats.


Have to disagree here (in agreement with your follow-up post). I’ll engage in some self promotion and say that I was the assistant editor for Studia for a couple years: we never had such statistics. Maybe it has happened in the past but not lately. The Jurist–maybe but not recently, as far as I can remember.


Thanks for the tips…

I stopped by the Local Seminary/Athenaeum library looking for the “Statistical Yearbook” of the Church and they did not have one…
I was rather disappointed that this place - of all places would not have a copy - even an older copy (within ten years??)…

I may try emailing one of those universities…Thanks


You can see if a library near you has it via this link. It might be published under any of these titles:

Annuarium statisticum Ecclesiae (Latin)
Annuario statistico della Chiesa (Italian)
Statistical yearbook of the Church (English)

They would generally be in the periodical section or the reference section.



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