Vatican City, Oct 21, 2021 / 12:00 pm
The number of Catholics in Asia and Africa continued to grow in 2019, according to newly released statistics.
The world population grew by 81.3 million in 2019, while members of the Catholic Church increased by 15.4 million for a total of 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide.
The new statistics compare 2019, the last year for which data is available, with 2018 and therefore do not reflect the effects of the global coronavirus outbreak in 2020.
While news coverage in recent years has highlighted the fall in Catholic priests being ordained in Europe and the Americas, the overall number of priests rose slightly in 2019 — by 271 — mostly due to a rise in priestly vocations in Africa and Asia, which offset decreases elsewhere.