Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Slip in percentage of Catholics world population

The number of Catholics in the world is increasing, but the percentage of Cathoilcs in the world population has decreased slightly, according to newly released Church data.

The Statistical Yearbook of the Church for 2002, prepared by the Central Office of Church Statistics and just published by the Vatican press office, tracks data from the start of John Paul II's pontificate through 2002.

The yearbook indicates that the crisis of the dwindling ranks of diocesan priests has passed, but not the crisis of religious vocations.

The number of Catholic faithful rose from 757 million in 1978 to 1.07 billion at year-end 2002. By continent, the increase was 150% in Africa; 74% in Asia; 49% in Oceania; 45% in the Americas; and 5% in Europe.

Yet the percentage of Catholics as a share of world population dropped. In 1978, 17.99% of the world's inhabitants were Catholic; in 1990, the tally was 17.68%; and in 2002, 17.2%.

Half the world's Catholics are in the Americas (49.9%); 26.15% in Europe; 12.84% in Africa; 10.3% in Asia; and 0.78% in Oceania.

Percentage of Catholics in the World Slips (Zenit 10/5/04)

Annuario Pontificio 2004
World Catholic population passes one billion (CathNews 10/2/03)
Vatican statistics reveal less religious priests (12/2/02)
Vatican yearbook reveals Holy Year statistics (2/7/01)

12 May 2004