News

How Many Catholics Are There?

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Apr 2015

The number of Catholics has increased faster than population growth in recent years. Currently, about 18 percent of the world identifies as Catholic.

Between 2005 and 2013, the Catholic population went from 1.115 billion to 1.254 billion. That's 17.3 percent of the world population to 17.7 percent in just eight years.

Most of the growth comes from Africa, where the number of Catholics went from 153 million to 206 million. The Americas saw nearly 11 percent growth, while there was 17 percent growth in Asia.

The number of priests, currently 415,348, has increased by 2.2 percent. Only North America and Europe saw a decline in priests.

However, the number of seminarians has decreased by two percent, which suggests that the number of priests will also decline in the future.

While 44 percent of Catholics priests are in Europe, only 23 percent of Catholics live there. Less than a third of the world's priests live in the Americas, though half of all Catholics do.

Additionally, the number of nuns has also been reduced from 760,000 in 2005 to 693,000 in 2013.