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This is the Catholic Church in numbers


Marisol Castañeda | Aid to the Church in Need

Zelda Caldwell - published on 10/20/20

These statistics offer a window into the state of the Church.

To commemorate the 94th anniversary of World Mission Day, which took place on October 18, Fides News Service has compiled an index of statistics that provide a picture of the Catholic Church today. The data used concerns the members of the Church, its structures, healthcare, welfare and education and was taken from the Church’s Book of Statistics, which was updated in December of 2018.

Here’s a look at the Catholic Church in numbers:

1. Catholics make up 17.73% of the world’s population. In December of 2018 the world’s population was 7.5 billion (that’s an increase of just over 88 million people compared to the previous year). Catholics at that time numbered 1.32 billion— an overall increase of 15.7 millioncompared to the previous year. The percentage of Catholics in the world remained the same, at 17.73%.

2. The total number of Bishops in the world decreased by 12, to 5,377.

3. The total number of priests in the world also decreased this year, to 414,065 (-517). The continent which registered a major decrease was again Europe (-2.675). The United State also saw a large decrease with 104 fewer priests. Increases were registered in Africa (+1.391), Asia (+823) and Oceania (+48).

4. There was an overall decrease in the number of women religious, by 7,249 to a total 641,661. An increase, once again was registered, in Africa (+2.220) and in Asia (+1.218), decrease in Europe (-7.167), America (-3.253) and Oceania (–267).

5. The number of lay missionaries in the world is 376,188, with an overall increase of 20,388, in Europe (+128), America (+8,129), Asia (+12,433), decrease in Oceania (-12) and in Africa (-290).

6. Catechists in the world decreased by 43,697, to a total 3,076,624. Decreases were registered in America (-40,846), Europe (-9,418), Oceania (-321), increases were registered in Africa (+5,133) and in Asia (+1,755).

7. The number of major seminarians (adults), diocesan and religious, increased this year by 552, reaching a total of 115,880. Increases were seen in Africa (+964), in Asia (+354) and in Oceania (+52). Decreases were witnessed in Europe (-696) and in America (-122).

8. The total number of minor seminarians (teens), diocesan and religious this year decreased for the third consecutive year by 617 to 100,164. Overall decrease on all continents except Asia (+340): in America (-529), Africa (-226), Europe (-169) and in Oceania (-33).

9.In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 73,164 kindergartens with 7,376,858 pupils; 103,146 primary schools with just over 35 million pupils; 49,541 secondary schools with 19.3 million pupils. The Church also educates 2.25 million high school pupils, and 3.7 university students.

10. Charity and healthcare centers run by the Church include: 5,192 hospitals, 15,481 dispensaries, 577 care homes for people with leprosy, 15,423 homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability, 9,295 orphanages, 10,747 creches, 12,515 marriage counseling centers, 3,225 social rehabilitation centers and 31,091 other kinds of institutes.

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