Vatican City, Feb 11, 2022 / 13:00 pm
The number of Catholics worldwide increased by an estimated 16 million in 2020 to 1.36 billion, according to statistics released on Friday by the Vatican.
The rise was in line with global population growth in the year that the coronavirus pandemic swept the planet, reported Vatican News, the online news portal of the Holy See. Catholics continued to account for 17.7% of the total world population.
The figures for 2020 — the most recent year where numbers are available — come from the 2022 edition of the Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook) and the 2020 Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae (Statistical Yearbook of the Church), compiled by the Vatican’s Central Office of Church Statistics.
As in previous years, the Church grew most rapidly in Asia (1.8%) and Africa (2.1%) and most modestly in Europe (0.3%).