Catholicism by the Numbers
Statistics for the Catholic Church – 2019
On the occasion of World Mission Day, which this year celebrates its 93rd anniversary on Sunday 20 October within the context of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019, announced by Pope Francis to mark the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church all over the world. They are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published (updated to 31 December 2017) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Please note that variations, increase or decrease, emerging from our own comparison with last year’s figures, are marked with “+” or “–” in brackets.
On 31 December 2017, the world population was 7,408,374,000 with an increase of 56,085,000 compared to the previous year. Population growth, almost half compared to the previous year, was recorded on every continent, including Europe, in its third year of growth after the decrease in previous years – increases were recorded above all in Africa (+ 33.572.000) and in Asia (+ 11.975.000), followed by America (+ 8.738.000), Europe (+ 1.059.000) and Oceania (+ 741.000).
On the same date, 31 December 2017, Catholics in the world numbered 1,313,278,000 with an overall increase of 14,219,000, almost the same as the previous year. The increase affects all continents, including Europe (+ 259.000), after a decrease for three consecutive years. Increases were recorded above all in Africa (+ 5,605,000) and in America (+ 6,083,000) followed by Asia (+ 2,080,000) and Oceania (+ 191,000).
The world percentage of Catholics increased by 0.06 %, settling at 17.73%. By continent: increases were recorded in America (+ 0.05) and Asia (+ 0,03), decrease in Africa (- 0,07), Europe (- 0,02) and Oceania (- 0,01).
The total number of priests in the world decreased this year, to 414,582 (- 387). The continents which recorded a decrease were again Europe (- 2.946) and Oceania (- 97). Increases were recorded in Africa (+ 1.192), America (+ 40) and Asia (+ 1.424) unvaried.
Diocesan priests decreased by 21, reaching a total of 281,810 with decreases again in Europe (- 2.048) and Oceania (- 36). Increases were recorded in Africa (+ 959), America (+ 404) and Asia (+ 700).
The number of religious priests decreased by 366 to a total of 132,772. Increases were recorded, as in recent years, in Africa (+ 233) and in Asia (+ 724), whereas numbers dropped in America (- 364), Europe (- 898) and Oceania (- 61).
Catholic schools and Education
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71.305 kindergartens with 7,303,839 pupils.
101,527 primary schools with 34,558,527 pupils and 48,560 secondary schools with 20,320,592 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,345,799 high school pupils and 2,945,295 university students.
Catholic charity and healthcare centres
Charity and healthcare centres managed by the Church worldwide include: 5,269 hospitals, most of them in America (1,399) and Africa (1,367), 16,068 dispensaries, mainly in Africa (5,907), America (4.330) and Asia (2.919), 646 care homes for people with leprosy, mainly in Asia
(362) and Africa (229); 15,735 homes for the elderly, the chronically ill or the disabled, mainly in Europe (8,475) and America (3,596), 9,813 orphanages, mainly in Asia (3,473), 10,492 creches, mainly in America (3,153) and in Asia (2,900), 13,065 marriage counselling centres, mainly in Europe (5,676) and America (4,798), 3,169 social rehabilitation centres and 31,182 institutions of other types.
Read the rest of the Statistics here: