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Catholic Research: Data, statistics, and socio-cultural research

This guide is designed to serve as a starting point for research in Catholicism. The resources featured here are primarily open access resources, except where noted.

Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA)

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is a nonprofit research institute based at Georgetown University whose mission includes conducting social scientific research about the Catholic Church. CARA produces a number of publications about Catholicism, including statistics for numbers for vocations, seminary enrollments, priests and vowed religious, parishes, Mass attendance, schools and the Catholic population.

Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)

Currently based at Pennsylvania State University and funded by the Lilly Endowment, John Templeton Foundation, Chapman University, and Pennsylvania State University, the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) seeks to provide access to data from religion scholars and research centers from all over the world. The ARDA provides access to a wealth of statistical information and includes a number of incredibly useful tools for researching religion statistics.

Catholics and Cultures

Catholics & Cultures, an initiative of the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross, aims to foster comparative study of contemporary Catholic life around the globe and to provide teaching resources about Catholic life in all its richness and particularity. The initiative focuses on ‘lived Catholicism,’ the ways that ordinary Catholics practice their faith in their everyday lives.