Diocese_of_San_BernardinoThe following comes from a mid-Oct. story in the San Bernardino diocese paper, Inland Byte.

At the very top of the list of the most populous dioceses in the country, you will find expected Catholic  strongholds like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Boston.

With the release of the 2013 Kenedy Directory, a widely-used annual volume of church statistics, you now find the Diocese of San Bernardino near the top of that list, too.

There are an estimated 1.6 million Catholics in the Diocese of San Bernardino, as reported in the Kenedy Directory, making it the fifth largest diocese in the nation. It continues a sharp upward trajectory in the population of the Diocese in recent decades. The Kenedy Directory reported a population of over 561,000 Catholics here 20 years ago, 24th biggest in the nation. By 2003, the Diocese reported one million Catholics, moving up to 12th on the list.

The increase parallels sharp growth in the general population of San Bernardino and Riverside counties along with an even more rapid rise in the Hispanic population of the region, which led the nation between 2000 and 2010. In making its Catholic population estimate for the Kenedy Directory, the Diocese factored in Census statistics on the Hispanic population of the two counties for the first time…. In the Diocese’s report to the Kenedy Directory, those who self-identify as Catholic are counted in the population estimate….