could you assist me in finding statistics of how many nuns there were in 1985, 1995, and 2005? Thank you!
There are several print sources that might be of relevance, most prominently Kenneth Jones’s "Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II", a book published in 2003, and “2011 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches”, edited by Eileen Lindner. IU doesn’t have them, but we could get them for you through interlibrary loan.
Online, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a research center connected to Georgetown University, compiles and indexes a lot of data about Catholic participation. They include a lot of their statistics on their website, http://cara.georgetown.edu
It breaks down data by just the United States and also world data. Statistics for religious sisters in 1985 number 115,386 (U.S.) and 917,432 (world); 90,809 (U.S.) and 837,961 (world) in 1995; and 68,634 (U.S.) and 760,529 (world) in 2005. The data is listed in more detail here: http://cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/requestedchurchstats.html They charge for their complete reports, but again, we could get them through Interlibrary Loan for you.
Is this the sort of information you need? I know statistics for North America and Europe will be different from, say, South America and Africa… do you need more of a country breakdown of statistics, or are world and U.S. data enough?