World Catholic population slightly up; seminary enrollment down
October 21, 2021
CWN Editor's Note: As the Catholic world approaches World Mission Sunday— observed this year on October 24— the Fides news service has issued its annual compilation of statistics regarding Church growth. (The figures are accurate for the end of 2019, the last year for which full statistics are available.)
The world’s Catholic population grew by 15.4 million, to a total of 1.3 billion. Catholic population grew on every continent except Europe, with the largest increase in Africa. The worldwide increase in Catholic population was slightly higher than the overall population increase.
The number of Catholic bishops declined slightly, to 5,364. The number of priests rose to 414,336, with the largest increases coming in Asia and Africa, while Europe and the Americas saw the number of priests decline— in the case of Europe, somewhat dramatically, by 2,608.
The number of women religious dropped by 11,562, to a total of 630,099. Again the numbers grew in Asia and Africa, but dropped substantially in Europe (-7,400) and the Americas (-5,315).
>The number of seminarians dropped worldwide, with enrollment in major seminaries down on every continent but Africa, and in minor seminaries down everywhere but in Oceania. Overall the number of seminarians was just over 211,000— down nearly 5,000 from the previous year.
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