The number of Catholics in the world and the number of deacons, priests and bishops all increased in 2010, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics.
At the end of
2010, the worldwide Catholic population reached 1.196 billion, an increase of 15
million or 1.3 percent, slightly outpacing the global population growth rate,
which was estimated at 1.1 percent, said a statement published March 10 by the
Vatican press office.
Catholics as a percentage of the global population
"remained stable at around 17.5 percent," it said.
The statement reported
a handful of the statistics contained in the 2012 "Annuario Pontificio," a
yearbook containing information about every Vatican office, as well as every
diocese and religious order in the world.
Officials of the Vatican
Secretariat of State and its Central Office of Church Statistics presented the
first copy of the 2012 yearbook to Pope Benedict XVI during an audience March
Detailed statistics in the yearbook are based on reports from
dioceses and religious orders as of Dec. 31, 2010.
The percentage of
Catholics declined slightly in South America from 28.54 percent to 28.34 percent
of the regional population, and dropped considerably in Europe from 24.05
percent to 23.83 percent. The percentage of Catholics increased in 2010 by just
under half a percentage point in Southeast Asia and Africa.
said the number of bishops in the world increased from 5,065 to 5,104; the
number of priests went from 410,593 to 412,236, increasing everywhere except
The number of permanent deacons reported -- 39,564 -- was an
increase of more than 1,400 over the previous year. 97.5 percent of the world's
permanent deacons live in the Americas or in Europe.
The number of men
joining a religious order showed "a setback," the Vatican said, with an increase
of only 436 male religious worldwide in 2010.
The number of women in
religious orders fell by more than 7,000 in 2010, despite showing a 2 percent
increase in both Asia and Africa. At the end of the year, Catholic women's
orders had 721,935 members.
The number of seminarians around the world
showed continued growth, from 117,978 at the end of 2009 to 118,990 at the end
In the last five years, it said, the number of seminarians rose
more than 14 percent in Africa, 13 percent in Asia and 12.3 percent in Oceania.
Numbers decreased in other regions of the world, particularly Europe, which saw
a 10.4 percent drop in the number of seminarians between 2005 and 2010.