From Catholic World News:
The number of religious sisters in the United States fell from 57,113 to 55,045 in a one-year period, according to data in the 2011 and 2012 editions of The Official Catholic Directory.
During the same period:
- the number of priests fell slightly from 40,271 to 40,203
- the number of seminarians fell from 5,247 to 5,015, with most of the decline occurring among religious-order (and not diocesan) seminarians
- the number of religious brothers fell from 4,650 to 4,518
- the number of permanent deacons rose from 17,436 to 17,816
A reader notes that this is especially interesting because the diaconate is the only vocation that isn’t aggressively promoted in most Catholic media—I don’t recall seeing recruiting ads in Catholic newspapers or periodicals, as you do with priests or sisters—and it is usually given short shrift (and a smaller budget) in many dioceses.