Catholic growing in the Bible Belt South


How much truth is in this article I read about the grow of Catholicism in the south?

Here are some graphs and demographics

The result of this varying population concentration means that the South is home to both substantial Catholic mission areas and to many communities with large Catholic churches (Map 3). Between 1971 and 2000, the number of Catholic churches in the region grew from 4,200 to 4,832, a substantial rate of increase, but not nearly as fast as the total Catholic population increased. As a result, the mean number of Catholics per church increased from 1,551 to 2,543. By contrast, there are, on average, 515 Southern Baptists per church in the South, and 310 United Methodists per church.

Since the data was from 1971 to 2000. Is this increase still happening in the south?


I can only talk about Alabama, but here, the massive influx of Hispanic immigrants has tripled the local Catholic population in just the last five years. If I had to guess, I would say that Catholicism, as a percentage of the population, has substantially increased, and the pace of the expansion of Catholicism has dramatically accelerated here since this report was made.


As a real estate agent, I can happily report that folks are moving to North Carolina in droves. :extrahappy:


Time Magazine had a similar story a couple of years ago.


The increase is still happening due to migration from the north, (as the graphs show, immigration of Hispanics.

One local Catholic Church here is considered a megachurch. It has over 2000 families.


Here in Tennessee I’ve seen quite a few signs that lead me to believe the Faith is growing quite a bit.

Take me, for instance. I’m a statistic now! :smiley:


Catholicism is growing in the American South principally because of 2 factors.

  1. The influx of immigrants, legal and otherwise, from Latin America.

  2. The decline of many cities and towns in the industrial heartland of America, and the subsequent move of tens of thousands of Americans from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan to the growing states in the southland. Pittsburgh, a majority Catholic city for example, fell from a population of 700,000 in 1950 to less than half of that in the current day.


^ You just had to ruin it for everyone here, didn’t you … :frowning:



Cleveland has seen a similar population decline.


The Bible study that I attend at my parish is put together by the Diocese of Little Rock (they publish the study guides and the tapes that discuss the Bible).


They are bulging at the seams here in Northern GA. My parish has over 3600 registered families, only about 1/5 are Hispanic. Most are relocated Yankee’s and converts. The Archdiocese is opening new Korean and Vietnamese missions all over town as well.

That’s the good news, the bad news is we have a huge deficit of priests. If it weren’t for the permanent Deacons we would be in a crisis situation right now.


Oh, so MUCH more than a mere statistic! You go, Truthinator!


They sure are, Randy. My family and I added to the Catholic population here by 8 when we moved from California. Our parish in Charlotte has over 22,000 members.


The parish I go to is having to build a whole new church because we are growing…even thought they just built a brand new one less than a decade ago. All these Northerners are going to work in Charlotte, but it costs too much to live in Mecklenburg County, so they are living in the border counties of SC and adding to our Catholic population (and driving up the prices for us natives, but that is a whole other topic:D ). Them and all of the Latinos. It is pretty cool and I feel a little more comfortable knowing my town has more people like me living in it than when I was growing up.


Little Rock does that? Wow, I live here and I didnt know that. Nice…

I would definitely have to say that people in the South are at the least becoming more receptive to the Catholic Church.

I love the South…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit