The latest statistics from the Catholic Church have just been published on the occasion of the 95th World Mission Day, October 24, 2021. Among other notable facts are the increase in the number of Catholics on all continents, except in Europe; and the worrying decrease in the number of vocations in the world.
The latest edition of the Church's Statistical Yearbook has just been published. This tool, renowned for its accuracy and reliability, synthesizes data collected between January 1 and December 31, 2019.
As of December 31, 2019, the world's population was 7,577,777,000, an increase of 81,383,000 from the previous year. Growth that affects all continents this year, including Europe, particularly due to migrations to the Old Continent.
Catholics number 1.345 billion, which represents 17.7% of the world's population. The geographic analysis of developments over the two-year period 2018-2019 shows an increase of 3.4% in Africa, 1.3% in Asia, 1.1% in Oceania, and 0.84% in the Americas, while in Europe the decline is real, although slight.
The number of priests is also increasing: there are 414,336. If we notice a significant growth in Africa (+ 3.45%) and in Asia (+ 2.91%), we note once again a decrease in Europe ( -1.5%) and in the Americas (-0.5%).
In Oceania, the number of priests remains stable (+ 1.1%).
A worrying phenomenon: the decline in priestly vocations continues. Candidates for the priesthood in the world went from 115,880 (2018) to 114,058 (2019) with a decrease of 1.6% in Europe, 2.4% in the Americas, 2.6% in Asia, 5.2% in Oceania.
In Africa, the number of major seminarians has increased from 32,212 to 32,721. The continent with the largest number of seminarians is Asia (33,821), followed by Africa (32,721), and the Americas. (30,664), Europe (15,888), and Oceania (964).
Another lesson for this year, perhaps linked to the vocations crisis: the number of permanent deacons is increasing, while conversely, that of religious is decreasing.