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Catholic population up 15 million worldwide

December 31, 2014

The world’s Catholic population increased by 15 million in the past year, with some growth on every continent, according to new statistics from the Fides news service.

The latest figures, which date to the end of 2012, show a worldwide Catholic population of 1.2 billion. That accounts for 17.49% of the world’s overall population: a figure that is down slightly from the previous year’s 17.50%.

The number of Catholics grew most rapidly in Africa and the Americas (which are treated as one continent in Vatican statistics), with Asia following and Europe and Oceania lagging behind.

The number of Catholic priests was up slightly, to 414,313. That growth was very irregular, however; the numbers were significantly up in Asia (1,364) and Africa (1,076), but down sharply in Europe (-1,375). A similar pattern was evident in the number of female religious, but that figure was down more than 10,000 worldwide, settling at 702,529.


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