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After the Governments of China and India, the Catholic Church is one of the largest providers of education globally. Trends in enrollment in Catholic schools and universities at the country, regional, and global levels can be documented based on the annual statistical yearbooks of the Church. Data on a wide range of Church activities are collected.
For K12 education, the yearbook provides for each country and some territories the number of the schools managed by the Church at three levels (preschools, primary schools, and secondary schools) and the number of students enrolled in those schools. In addition, the yearbook provides statistics on the number of students enrolled in post-secondary education under three categories: (1) Catholic Higher Institutes (post-secondary institutions not classified as universities); (2) ecclesiastical studies in Catholic universities; and (3) other types of studies in Catholic universities. This page provides estimates of enrollment and links to publications available on this website that document enrollment trends and other stylized facts about Catholic education.
Publications on Enrollment Trends
Enrollment trends are discussed in the Global Catholic Education Report published annually as well as in some of our Other Studies and Knowledge Notes which provide more detailed statistical analysis.
Data for the statistical yearbooks of the Church are collected through a questionnaire sent to the chancery offices of ecclesiastical jurisdictions worldwide. The data are self-reported and may not always be fully accurate, especially in contexts where local conditions are not favorable to data collection. In addition, not all ecclesiastical jurisdictions are able to fill the questionnaire every year. Each year a small number of the more than 3,000 jurisdictions that should fill the questionnaire are not able to do it. Yet these jurisdictions tend to be small, so that the missing data should not affect the validity of the data substantially for most countries and at the regional and global levels.
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