Vatican statistics show continued growth in number of Catholics worldwide

By Carol Glatz, 12 April 2021
Fr Ephraim Lam, parish priest and Chaplain to the Chinese Catholic Community, baptises a child during the Easter Vigil Mass at St Monica's Parish, North Parramatta. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


The number of Catholics and permanent deacons in the world has shown steady growth, while the number of religious men and women continued to decrease, according to Vatican statistics.

At the end of 2019, the worldwide Catholic population exceeded 1.34 billion, which continued to be about 17.7% of the world’s population, said an article published March 26 in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

It marked an increase of 16 million Catholics — a 1.12% increase compared to 2018 while the world’s population grew by 1.08%.

The article contained a handful of the statistics in the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which reported worldwide church figures as of Dec. 31, 2019. It also announced the publication of the 2021 “Annuario Pontificio,” a volume containing information about every Vatican office, as well as every diocese and religious order in the world.

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With thanks to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), Catholic News Service and Carol Glatz, where this article originally appeared.


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