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Working the Numbers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 29 May 2008 10:46
The new numbers for global Catholicism are out. The Vatican's Statistical Yearbook shows for the 7 year period from 2000 2006.

The overall Catholic percentage of the world's population remains steady at 17.3% (World population as of May, 2008 is estimated to be just over 6.7 billion. ) That would make the world's Catholic population nearly 1.16 billion.

To put that in perspective: The Center for Global Christianity estimates that in 2008 there are 79,000 new Christians every 24 hours. of which 29,000 are Independents, 28,000 are Catholic, 16,000 are Protestant, 5,000 are Orthodox, and 3,000 are Anglican. It also estimates that there are 69,000 new Muslims every day. Catholic per annum growth is 0.89%. Independent per annum growth is 2.55%.

Overall, the number of Catholic priests increased just over 2,000 to a world wide total of 407,000. While the number of diocesan priests is increasing, religious priests continue to decline and currently make up 1/3 of all priests in the world.

A final bright spot that the statistical yearbook noted was an upswing in the number of seminarians in diocesan and religious seminaries. Globally, their numbers increased from 110.583 in 2000 to more than 115.000 in 2006, a growth of 4.43 percent.

By area:

Europe: The decline continues. 25% of all Catholics live in Europe but the Catholic population only increased there by 1% over the first 7 years of the new millennium. Numbers of European priests dropped 5.75%. Europe saw a decline in the number of religious priests and a steep decline in the number of non-ordained religious (down 12%). The number of seminarians also dropped by 16%.

Oceania: site of this year's World Youth Day: The Catholic population grew 7.6% but their number of priests dropped
4.37% and non-ordained religious dropped nearly 17% over the same 7 years.

America (which includes north, central and south America) While the Catholic population of American grew 8.4% over the 7 year period, the number of priests and religious are essentially unchanged.

and now the "dynamic continents" as the report calls them:

Asia: The Catholic population has remained essentially unchanged but the number of priests has risen 17.7% and there was a 30.6% increase in non-ordained religious. The number of female religious is up by 12.78 percent).

Africa: The number of Catholics rose nearly 22% between 2000 and 2006. Priestly vocations rose even faster ( 24.24%) and non ordained religious rose by 8%. Female religious have risen by 15.45%.

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