More than 3.2 million pilgrims visited and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services at the Vatican in 2015, the Vatican said. The statistics, released Dec. 30, were compiled by the Prefecture of the Papal Household, which coordinates papal events and distributes free tickets to papal audiences and liturgies. The prefecture said more than 3.2 million people attended a papal event in 2015. The total was a significant drop from the 5.9 million visitors received by Pope Francis in 2014. It was also slightly more than half the 6.6 million pilgrims who visited the Vatican during the first nine and a half months of his pontificate in 2013.
Those numbers, however, are still significantly higher than previous years. For comparison, here are attendance figures from some years past:
2012 — 2.3 million (Benedict’s last year as pope)
2005—2.8 million (Benedict’s first year)
2004—2.2 million (John Paul II’s last year)