World: 1.359 Billion Catholics

January 13, 2023

On the occasion of the 96th World Mission Day, Sunday October 23, 2022, the Information Agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies presented the statistics of the Catholic Church.

As of December 31, 2020, there were 1.359 billion Catholics worldwide. The tables are taken from the updated Church Statistical Yearbook. The statistics include church members, pastoral structures, and activities in the areas of health and education.

As of December 31, 2020, the world population was 7.667 billion people, an increase of 89.36 million from the previous year. The number of Catholics was 1.359 billion, an overall increase of 15.209 million from the previous year.

The total number of bishops in the world was 5,363, with 4,156 diocesan bishops and 1,207 religious bishops. The number of priests worldwide fell to 410,219 (-4,117). Once again, it is Europe that shows a steady decline, followed by North and South America and Oceania. Increases in the number of priests are recorded in Africa and Asia.

The number of religious non-priests increased by 274 to 50,569. Decreases are recorded in North and South America and Oceania. There are increases in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The trend of recent years of an overall decrease in the number of religious sisters is confirmed, with a drop this year of 10,553 for a total of 619,546 - and here too, it is Asia and Africa which are registering a trend of increase in staff.

The number of major seminarians decreased this year by 2,203 in total, to reach 111,855. In the field of education and instruction, throughout the world, the Church manages 72,785 nursery schools, 99,668 primary schools, and 4,437 secondary schools.

The health, charitable, and social institutions run by the Church throughout the world include: 5,322 hospitals, 14,415 dispensaries, 534 leper hospitals, 15,204 homes for the elderly, chronically ill and disabled, 9,230 orphanages, 10,441 kindergartens, 10,362 marriage counselling, 3,137 social education or re-education centers, and 34,291 other institutions.