The rest came from all across the globe with 7% from Latin America, 6% from Asia, 4% from Europe and Africa respectively, and 3% from Oceania.

For those born outside the U.S., on average, they were 19 when they arrived, and they lived in the country for 18 years before final vows. 

Cradle Catholics

Ninety percent of respondents have been Catholic since birth, while converts to the faith entered the Church at an average age of 24. 

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Respondents were also surveyed on their upbringing, and 94% said that at least one of their parents was Catholic when they were children. A similar number, 86%, said that both parents were Catholic. 

A sizable amount, 30%, reported having a priest or religious in the family.


Among the respondents, a far higher percentage than is found in the U.S. population of Catholics attended Catholic elementary school. The report said 51% of the religious attended, while 16% of U.S. Catholic adults did so. 

Forty-six percent of respondents said they attended Catholic high school, compared with 5% of U.S. adult Catholics. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they attended Catholic college, compared with 5% of U.S. Catholic adults.

Of those surveyed, 14% reported being home-schooled at some point. Nine years was the average length of time for those who said they were home-schooled.

About 6 in 10 said they participated in parish religious education. Eighteen percent reported that they were in a “Catholic ministry formation program” before entering their religious institute.

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The report said that the religious surveyed are “highly educated.” As many as 20% held a graduate degree before entering their religious institute. Just over 60% of respondents had a bachelor’s degree before entering their institute. 

Path of discernment

Almost all respondents, 96%, participated in regular prayer practices or groups before entering their religious institute, the report said: 

Those surveyed reported, on average, first considering religious life at age 18. Half of respondents were 18 or younger.

The ages ranged, for both men and women combined, from 3 to 54 when they first considered a vocation.