According to the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics 2022” the number of Catholics continues to grow in the world.
To December 31, 2020 the world population was 7.667.136.000, with an increase of 89.359.000 units compared to the previous year. Population growth was registered, even this year, on every continent. Increases were registered above all in Asia (+39.670.000) and in Africa (+37.844.000), followed by America (+8.560.000), Europe (+2.657.000) and Oceania (+628.000).
On the same date, December 31, 2020, Catholics in the world numbered 1.359.612.000 units with an overall increase of 15.209.000 units compared to the previous year. The increase affects all continents, except Oceania (-9.000). As in the past, increases were registered above all in Africa (+5.290.000) and in America (+6.463.000), followed by Asia (+2.731.000) and Europe (+734.000). The world percentage of Catholics decreased slightly (-0,01) compared to the previous year reaching 17,73%. The continents register slight variations, except Oceania which remains unvaried.
The total number of bishops in the world decreased by 1 unit, to 5.363. Diocesan Bishops increased (+22) and Religious Bishops decreased (-23). Diocesan Bishops number 4.156, while Religious Bishops number 1.207. Diocesan Bishops increase in America (+25) and in Asia (+2), while a decrease was registered in Europe (-4) and in Oceania (-1), unvaried in Africa. Religious Bishops decrease in all continents: America (-9), Asia (-7), Europe (-5), Africa (-2). Unvaried in Oceania.
Priests. The total number of priests in the world decreased to 410.219 (-4.117). The continent which registered a major decrease was again Europe (-4.374) as well as America (-1.421) and Oceania (- 104). Increases were registered in Africa (+1.004) and in Asia (+778). Diocesan priests in the world decreased by 1.615 units, reaching a total of 280.521, with a decrease in Europe (-2.880), in America (-364) and in Oceania (-40). Increases were registered in Africa (+1.116) and in Asia (+553).
The number of religious priests decreased by 2.502 units, to a total 129.698. Increases were registered only in Asia (+225), decreases in Europe (-1.494), America (-1.057) Africa (-112), and Oceania (-64).
Permanent deacons in the world continue to increase, this year reaching 397 units, to 48.635. The highest increase was registered in America (+558) and in Oceania (+38), a decrease in Europe (-97), Asia (-62) and Africa (-40). Permanent diocesan deacons in the world are 48.259, with an overall increase of 656 units. Increase in America (+604), Oceania (+36), Asia (+17), Europe (+10), decrease only in Africa (-11). Religious permanent deacons number 376, with a decrease of 259 units compared to the previous year. Decreases in Europe (-107), Asia (-79), America (-46), Africa (-29), the only increase in Oceania (+2).
The number of non-religious priests increased by 274 units, to 50.569. Decreases were registered in America (-537) and in Oceania (-67). Increases in Europe (+428), Asia (+347) and in Africa (+103). Even this year, there is an overall decrease in the number of women religious by 10.553 units, to a total 619.546. Increases were registered, once again, in Africa (+2.503) and in Asia (+364), decrease in Europe (-8.852), America (-4.326) and Oceania (–242).
Members of male institutes number 583 (+1). A decrease only in Africa (-14), increases in America (+11) and in Asia (+4), unvaried in Europe and in Oceania. Members of female institutes also decreased this year, by 947 units, to a total of 19.966 members. Increase in Africa (+60), while a decrease was registered in Europe (-924), in America (-81) and in Asia (-2), unvaried in Oceania.
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 413.561, with an overall increase of 3.121 units. The numbers registered are: Africa (+559), America (+3.535), Asia (+4.114), Europe (-5.064), Oceania (-23). Catechists in the world decreased by 190.985 units, to a total 2.883.049. Decreases were registered in America (-162.010), in Europe (-24.954), in Asia (-18.282) and in Oceania (-505). The only increase was registered in Africa (+14.766).
The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious decreased this year, they are globally 2.203 units, reaching a total 111.855. Increases were registered only in Africa (+907), decreases in America (-1.261), Asia (-1.168), Europe (-680) and Oceania (-1).
The total number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious this year decrease for the fifth consecutive year by 1.592 units to 95.398. Decreases were registered in America (-1.049), Asia (-644), Europe (-275), while increases were registered in Africa (+375) and in Oceania (+1).
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 72.785 kindergartens with 7.510.632 pupils; 99.668 primary schools with 34.614.488 pupils; 49.437 secondary schools with 19.252.704 pupils. The Church also cares 2.403.787 high school pupils and 3.771.946 university students.
Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church include: 5.322 hospitals, 14.415 dispensaries, mainly in Africa (4.956) and in America (3.785); 534 Care Homes for people with Leprosy, mainly in Asia (265) and Africa (210); 15.204 Homes for the elderly or the chronically ill or people with a disability, mainly in Europe (7.953); 9.230 orphanages, mainly in Asia (3.201); 10.441 creches, mainly in Asia (2.801) and in America (2.816); 10.362 marriage counselling centres, mainly in Europe (5.279) and America (2.604); 3.137 social rehabilitation centres and 34.291 other kinds of institutes.
The Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Dicastery for Evangelization are 1.118. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions entrusted to the Dicastery are in Africa (518) and in Asia (483), followed by America (71) and Oceania (46).