Catholic Church grows in Asia and Africa while declining in Europe
An annual census by the Vatican news agency, Fides, shows that the number of Catholics has increased in Africa, the Americas and Asia but gone down in Europe.
The list of Catholic Church Statistics, released Thursday, reveals that the number of Catholics grew by more than 15 million from 2018 to 2019. However, in Europe, the number of Catholics decreased by 292,000. The release of the statistics came ahead of World Mission Day, which took place Sunday.
As of the 31st of December 2019, the world population was approximately 7.6 billion with an increase of 81.4 million compared to the previous year. The population grew on every continent, including Europe, the census notes.
Catholics in the world numbered 1.3 billion with an overall increase of 15.4 million, as of the 31st of December 2019, compared to the previous year. A video presentation of the statistics notes that Catholics accounted for 17.7% of the world population in 2019.
In Africa, the number of Catholics increased by 8.3 million, by 5.3 million in America, by 1.9 million in Asia and by 118,000 in Oceania. Catholics comprised 19.4% of the population in Africa, 63.8% of the population in America, 3.3% of the population in Asia and 26.3% of the population in Oceania.
As the number of Catholics increased worldwide, the total number of bishops in the world decreased by 13 to 5,364, according to the census. The report also shows that the number of priests worldwide increased, mainly in Africa and Asia, by 271 to 414,336.