Percentage of Catholics teens in public vs catholic HS


Hi there! Does anyone have any statistics on what percentage of Catholic kids (teens in particular) attend public schooling/CCD vs Catholic schooling? I’ve been looking almost all day on-line for some sort of “number help” but with no luck.

I’m hoping to use this information for ministry related purposes, as relating to teens living in the ‘secular’ world… (I realize that for both schooling systems it can be said they are living in the secular- but most would agree one is more secular than the other… in various ways).

Any solid numbers, or percentage help would be sooo apreciated!! :slight_smile:

I would think I’m correct to think the vast majority are in public schools, right?

I don’t mean for this thread to be mostly about debate(I’m sure there’s lots), but just purely looking at numbers:o


Well I havn’t seen any. What I can say though, is my opinion. I am a 16 year old Catholic at a public school. No other Catholics or Christians in my grade, only 1 muslim. What I have seen at certain ‘catholic’ private schools makes me question if they are actually ‘catholic’ after all.


I have not seen a nationwide number but I bet it would be quick and easy to find the percentage in your own community, especially if you need a ballpark figure for arguements sake.

We discuss this at our school board meetings from time to time - we know the numbers in each grade in our own Catholic school, then we take note of the number of FHC candidates every year. In my son’s class, there are 10 students in his class but 40 went through FHC, so we have roughly 25% of the Catholics in town at our school. It is interesting because in my daughter’s class, just a year older than my son’s, we have 16 students and 28 went through FHC.

It doesn’t include those students who are technically Catholic but aren’t being raised in Catholic homes, don’t go to Mass or go through FHC, but I am not sure how you’d find out those people are Catholic anyway.

For High school you could do the same thing with Confirmation if it is happening in grades 9-12. I’m sure you’d get a smaller percentage, as Catholic high schools are fewer and farther between.


Well, in Northern Virginia, there are three Catholic high schools, with an enrollment of about 3 thousand.

The Fairfax County Public Schools and Arlington Public Schools have a high school enrollment of 61 thousand.

So, here in Northern Virginia, the percentage of kids going to Catholic high school is 5%.


Hard to tell for sure but in 2009-2010 there around 611,000 students in Catholic high schools (9-12th grade).

There are about 26 million kids total in high schools in the US.

So my math says about 2.4% of high school kids go to a Catholic School.

There are about 5.7 million Catholic kids in the HS age range.

So about 10-11% of Catholic kids go to a Catholic HS.

Keep in mind that rural areas generally don’t have a Catholic HS near by, so many don’t have a choice. The closest Catholic HS to where we live is about 30 miles. However, I believe our church has a shuttling/car pool program going for the small number of kids who do go there.


Thanks!!! You guys are too kind!

I find the numbers really fascinating…

Mcrow, do you have any links to where you found those numbers? (They are a gold-mine!) I think I may need to write out a proposal packet to get greater help financially/ and with publishing… and any links to those statistics would help.


Huh, i wewnt to a public high school, but pretty much every one of my classmates and teachers were Catholic


Interesting, but the OP was asking how many Catholic kids go to public high school.


Yeah, I realized that later.

How’s this, from the USCCB. I know that there are Catholic students who don’t go to Religious Ed, but this is certainly interesting.

Catholic Education9
*]High Schools: 1,205 schools educating 611,723 students
*]Public School Students Receiving Religious Education: 11
*]High School students: 689,552


Holy! Is that from one diocese?

I also did not take into consideration that some of the students in the Catholic school are not Catholic.


I found some more information! The National Study of Youth and Religion (2005) found that of the Catholic population of 13-17 year olds, 86% attended public school, 9% were in Catholic school, and 5% were in other schools or home schooled.

Later it goes on to say 21% of Catholic young people are in parish religious ed at least weekly, 43% attended at least once a month, and 39% have never attended parish religious education (CCD).

closed #12

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