Survey of American Catholic Priests, 1993

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Catholic > Summary


Commissioned by the National Federation of Priests' Councils, this survey sought to obtain priests' views on the NFPC itself and to look at questions of morale and work satisfaction. Parts of the 1970 National Opinion Research Center (NORC) priest survey and the 1985 NORC priest survey were replicated for this study.

Data File
Cases: 1,186
Variables: 147
Weight Variable: 146)WT
The weight variable was created by separating religious and diocesan priests (RELDIO) and then using Schoenherr's weighting for diocesan size (DIOWT). To compute WT:

If (RELDIO = 1) WT = DIOWT/1.693
If (RELDIO = 2) WT = 1.235
If (RELDIO = 3) WT = 1
In Hoge et al.'s analysis, cases with missing data for DIOWT were excluded.
Data Collection
Date Collected: April-June 1993
Funded By
The Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Collection Procedures
Self-administered mail surveys
Sampling Procedures
In 1970, a National Opinion Research Center team set out to survey a random sample of American priests at the request of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. "The researchers used a stratified two-stage cluster sample with probabilities proportional to size. In the first-stage sample, 85 of the 155 American dioceses and 91 of the 252 self-governing units of religious institutes were selected. In the second-stage sample, 7,260 of the approximately 64,000 American priests were selected, 5,155 of whom returned usable questionnaires, yielding a response rate of 71 percent.

The data for the 1985 analysis were collected during the spring and summer of 1985. The study was designed to be a partial replication of the 1970 study, involving a smaller sample and shorter questionnaire. From the dioceses and religious institutes contained in the first-stage of the 1970 survey, approximately one-third were randomly sampled. From the lists of priests they supplied, 12.5 percent were selected randomly, resulting in total of 1,224. Of these, 1,062 returned usable questionnaires, resulting in a response rate of 87 percent." (Verdieck, Shields, and Hoge, 1988, p. 526).


The 1993 survey was again designed to be a replication, but it was different in two ways. First, the survey was commissioned by the National Federation of Priests' Councils (NFPC), and part of the questionnaire was devoted to questions about the NFPC. To ensure a large enough sample of dioceses, we randomly selected one-half of the dioceses in each stratum surveyed in 1970, producing a total of 44 dioceses. We wrote to them for lists, and all but one cooperated; it was replaced by a similar diocese. After randomly selecting 12.5 percent of the priests, we sent out 12-page questionnaires to 1,243 of them, beginning in April 1993. As before, retired priests and those serving outside the diocese were included. Whereas we had the support of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1985, this support was unavailable in 1993, and, unlike 1985, we could not include letters from the NCCB leadership or from local bishops urging the priests to cooperate; instead, we used a letter of endorsement fromthe President of the NFPC. This probably lowered the return rate, which came out to be 68.3 percent, producing 849 completed questionnaires. A weighting formula identical to 1970 and 1985 was used to remove the oversampling of large dioceses." (Hoge, Dean R., Joseph J. Shields, and Douglas L. Griffin, 1995, p. 197-198).
Principal Investigators
Dean R. Hoge
Related Publications
Hoge, Dean R., Joseph J. Shields, and Douglas L. Griffin. 1995. "Changes in Satisfaction and Institutional Attitudes of Catholic Priests, 1970-1993," Sociology of Religion 56:2 195-214.

National Federation of Priests' Councils. Project Future Directions: Survey Reports. Distributed by NFPC, 1994. About 110 pages.