| Catholic population at nearly 59 million in 2010
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Catholic population stood at 58.9 million in 2010, according to a new census of religious congregations.
The number of Catholics is lower than the 62 million Catholics reported in 2000, but the difference is due to a change in the way data was collected during this go-round, said Cliff Grammich, a researcher working for the Glenmary Research Center (www.rcms2010.org) who compiled statistics from 20,589 parishes, missions and other places with regularly scheduled weekend Masses.
The 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations and Membership Study released May 1 showed that the number of Catholics is three times that of the country's second largest religious body, the Southern Baptist Convention, with nearly 19.9 million members.