USA Today reports this morning that the 2007 Official Catholic Directory will be released this week. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate estimates that there are over 64 million Catholics in the United States, but they note that there are likely "ghosts" included on their lists--people who have died or disaffiliated with the religion.
It's always interesting to find parallels with the problems election officials have faced in implementing the Help America Vote Act. They have had to walk the fine line (sometimes successfully and sometimes less so), trying to rid their rolls of dead or ineligible citizens without purging legitimate registrations. Elections officials must be even more careful than those surveying the population, though, because in the elections context, being left out of the count means the denial of the fundamental right to vote.