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Posted August 29, 2003

New Priests Older, Better Educated, More Foreign Born



For the sixth successive year Dr. Dean Hoge has surveyed the yearís class of men being ordained to the diocesan and religious priesthood in the United States. This yearís survey resulted in 348 responses from ordinands ó 306 diocesan and 42 religious. The survey questionnaire was prepared in connection with the studyís sponsor, The Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation to the USCCB.

The average age at ordination rose from 34.8 to 36.8 years.

The level of education before entering the seminary is higher. In 1998, 30% had less than a bachelorís degree, while in 2003 it was only 21 percent. The percentage with masterís or professional degrees rose from 13 percent to 30 percent.

The percentage born outside of the U.S. rose from 24 percent to 28 percent. The two principal foreign countries where ordinands were born are Vietnam and Mexico.

Breakdown of newly ordained according to age and race

Diocesan Religious All
27 percent 7 percent 24 percent Ages 25 - 29
27 24 26 30 - 34
18 17 18 35 - 39
20 33 22 40 - 49
5 12 6 50 - 59
3 7 4 60+



Diocesan Religious All
70 percent 55 percent 68 percent European American
15 7 14 Hispanic or Latino
8 29 11 Asian or Pacific Islander
6 7 6 Other