Vatican statistics say Catholics lead globe

The world’s Catholic population is continuing to grow, particularly in Africa. It is the world’s largest religion, say the statistics in the 2017 Annuario Pontificio, or Vatican yearbook.

The yearbook says most Catholics live in the same 10 countries. They make up almost 56 per cent of the world’s Catholic population.

Altogether, there were about 1.285 billion Catholics at the end of 2015. During that year, the proportion of baptised Catholics grew by one percent.

Catholics tend to cluster together, according to the yearbook.

For example, 49 percent of the world’s baptised Catholics live in North or South America and the Caribbean.

Europe and Africa have around 22 percent and 17 percent each of the world’s Catholic population. Around 11 percent live in Asia.

Just under one percent lives in Oceania and the South Pacific.

In order from highest to lowest, the yearbook says countries with the most Catholics are: Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, United States, Italy, France, Colombia, Spain, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Argentina.

The yearbook says during the period 2010 to 2015, the global Catholic population increased by 7.4 per cent.

The percentage Catholics living on the African continent grew by 19.4 per cent during the same five-year period. The yearbook says this increase in Africa outpaced the growth of its general population.


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