Charting Growth

Philadelphia vs Outer Counties
Outer Counties Philadelphia County

This chart compares the rate of parish foundings between Philadelphia County and the combined outer counties of what is currently the Philadelphia Archdiocese. It is surprising that the earliest parishes were founded out in the outer counties rather than in urban Philadelphia. The trend of the outer counties outstripping Philadelphia in terms of number of parishes is most likely explained by improved transportation, especially the advent of the communter's streetcar and the Streetcar Suburbs.

Regional vs National Parishes
Regional Parishes National Parishes

Most Roman Catholic parishes are Regional Parishes. This means that their congregation comes from a specific geographic area. However, ethnic groups who communicate primarily or entirely in a longuage besides English creates a special pastoral need. In order to provide them with ministry in their primary language, there are also National Parishes. These parishes may be loosely defined by geography, but the area that their congregants come from will typically overlap several Regional Parishes, drawing all of the people who speak that language from those other areas. Additionally, other Nationaly Parishes dedicated to other languages will also overlap the same area.

This chart compares the growth of the Regional Parishes in the outer counties of the Philadelphia Archdiocese with the growth of the National Parishes. This graph clearly shows that nearly all of these parishes were founded in the couple of decades after about 1900.

The Outer Counties
Bucks County Chester Country Delaware County Montgomery County

This chart compares the number of parishes in each of the outer counties over time. The graph shows that the pattern of growth - even if not the rate - in terms of number of parishes was very similar among the counites.

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