A ZENIT SPECIAL REPORT

CHURCH STATISTICS AND CHURCH MISSION

October 15,1999

Rome (Fides) - On the threshold of the third Christian millennium, Church statistics help us to draw some conclusions about two thousand years of evangelization among peoples.

At the end of 1997 the world population was 5,820,767,000 that is 80,677,000 than the previous year and what is more this increase was 27,961,000 more than the increase in the previous year. The population growth of 80,677,000 was by continent as follows: 59,241,000 in Asia, 14,978,000 in Africa, 7,006,000 in America and 326,000 in Oceania; but a decrease in Europe of 874,000. (Cf. Church’s Book of Statistics 1997).

At the same date Catholics were 1,005,254,000, with an increase of 10,126,000 compared to the previous year, distributed by continent as follows: increase of 4,591,000 in America,3,600,000 in Africa, 2,064,000 in Asia and 287,000, but a decrease of 27,000 in Oceania and 102,000 in Europe.

The percentage of Catholics in the world has decreased on the whole by 0.07%, although it has increased by 0.18% in Africa, 0.03% in Europe, 0.02% in America and 0.01% in Asia; and decreased only in Oceania of 0.40%.

The ratio of inhabitants and Catholics per priest has risen generally by 48 units. But while it increased in Oceania by 240, in America by 62 and in Europe by 21, it dropped by 1,591 in Asia and by 121 in Africa. In these two continents in fact the number of priests has grown.

But generally Priests have decreased, by 128 units (750 less Religious priests but 622 more diocesan priests) In Asia the number of priests increased by 1,037 (+ 714 and + 323 Religious); in Africa by 600 (+749 diocesan but less 149 Religious); decreased in America by 69 (+ 509 diocesan but less 578 Religious); decrease in Europe of 1,664 (- 1,306 diocesan and – 358 Religious) and in Oceania by 32 (- 44 diocesan and + 12 Religious.

Religious men have decreased generally by 757 units despite an increase in Asia by 119, in Africa by 97. Because they decreased by 538 in Europe, 317 in America and 118 in Oceania.

Women Religious have decreased considerably by 9,382 units: while they increased by 1,664 in Asia, and by 97 in Africa they decreased in Europe by 8,175 and by 4,064 in America.

Catechists have increased generally by 434,388

Major seminarians have increased generally by 2,647: increasing by 1,904 in America, by 922 in Africa and by 673 in Asia, but decreasing by 788 in Europe and 64 in Oceania.

Minor seminarians decreased generally by 2,741 because while they increased by 2,185 in Africa they decreased by 2,123 in America, 1,720 in Europe and by 1,074 in Asia and 9 in Oceania.


CATHOLICS IN THE WORLD
AND ON THE INDIVIDUAL CONTINENTS

Continent

Population

Variations

Catholics

Variations

WORLD

5,820,767,000

+ 80,677,000

1,005,254,000

+ 10,126,000

Africa

756,896,000

+ 14,978,000

112,871,000

+ 3,600,000

America

788,153,000

+ 7,006,000

495,756,000

+ 4,591,000

Asia

3,562,142,000

+ 59,241,000

105,294,000

+ 2,064,000

Europe

684,421,000

- 874,000

283,313,000

- 102,000

Oceania

29,155,000

+ 326,000

8,020,000

- 27,000


Continent

% of
Catholics

Variations

Ecclesiastical
Circumscriptions

Variations

WORLD

17.27%

- 0.07%

2,789

+ 13

Africa

14.91%

+ 0.18%

474

+ 5

America

62.90%

+ 0.02%

1,034

+ 3

Asia

2.96%

+ 0.01%

484

+ 5

Europe

41.39%

+ 0.03%

720

= =

Oceania

27.54%

- 0.54%

77

= =


Continent

Inhabitants per priest

Variations

Catholics per
priest

Variations

WORLD

11,270

+ 48

2,487

+ 13

Africa

29,942

- 121

4,465

+ 37

America

6,567

+ 62

4,131

+ 41

Asia

56,781

- 1,591

2,604

- 16

Europe

3,207

+ 21

1,328

+ 10

Oceania

5,883

+ 240

1,580

+ 5

 


BISHOPS
(bracketed variations compared with last year)

Continent

Total

Secular

Religious

Native

Foreign

WORLD

4,420 (+ 45)

3,299 (+ 49)

1,121 (- 4)

3,707 (+ 43)

713 (+ 2)

Africa

562 (+ 18)

410 (+ 8)

152 (+ 10)

435 (+ 12)

127 (+ 6)

America

1,659 (+13)

1,133 (+ 20)

526 (- 7)

1,354 (+ 17)

305 (- 4)

Asia

617 (+ 15)

442 (+ 16)

175 (- 1)

528 (+ 18)

89 (- 3)

Europe

1,464 (=)

1,236 (+ 4)

228 (- 4)

1,312 (- 5)

152 (+ 5)

Oceania

118 (- 1)

78 (+ 1)

40 (- 2)

78 (+ 1)

40 (- 2)

 


PRIESTS

(bracketed variations compared with last year)

 

Continent

Total

Diocesan

Religious

WORLD

404,208 (- 128)

263,521 (+ 622)

140,687 (- 750)

Africa

25,279 (+ 600)

14,873 (+ 749)

10,406 (- 149)

America

120,013 (- 69)

73,495 (+ 509)

46,518 (- 578)

Asia

40,441 (+ 1,037)

23,789 (+ 714)

16,652 (+ 323)

Europe

213,398 (- 1,664)

148,595 (- 1,306)

64,803 (- 358)

Oceania

5,077 (- 32)

2,769 (- 44)

2,308 (+ 12)

 


BROTHERS, SISTERS, CATECHISTS
(bracketed variations compared with last year)

 

Continent

Brothers

Sisters

Catechists

WORLD

58,210 (- 757)

819,278 (- 9,382)

2,019,021 (+ 434,388)

Africa

7,083 (+ 97)

49,854 (+ 1,161)

329,775 (+ 4,926)

America

17,426 (- 317)

240,858 (- 4,064)

1,071,707 (+ 330,638)

Asia

7,274 (+ 119)

127,969 (+ 1,664)

188,985 (+ 5,686)

Europe

24,460 (- 538)

388,693 (- 8,175)

399,485 (+ 76,727)

Oceania

1,967 (- 118)

11,904 (+ 32)

29,069 (16,411)


SEMINARIANS

Continent

Seminarians
Major

variations

Seminarians
Minor

variations

WORLD

108,517

+ 2,647

106,210

- 2,741

Africa

19,078

+ 922

43,469

+ 2,185

America

34,947

+ 1,904

22,425

- 2,123

Asia

25,842

+673

22,329

- 1,074

Europe

27,853

- 788

17,541

- 1,720

Oceania

797 - 64

- 64

446

- 9

 


SCHOOLS AND PUPILS
The Church’s work in education reaches a total 47,187,187 pupils (increase of 587,769 units in 1996)
 not counting students formed in professional schools.

Infant Primary Secondary University

pupils

Institutes

pupils

Institutes

pupils

Institutes

pupils

pupils

WORLD

5,112,570

58,224

25,441,837

86,505

13,881,909

34,849

1,411,689

2,033,318

Africa

781,536

9,867

9,285,102

29,543

2,050,080

6,265

24,093

27,188

America

1,117,954

14,786

7,321,405

22,411

3,676,894

9,493

458,231

1,276,849

Asia

1,373,087

9,700

4,199,371

13,622

4,199,371

7,931

725,905

474,465

Europe

1,810,755

23,283

3,416,138

18,363

3,614,826

10,425

196,918

250,365

Oceania

29,238

588

552,900

2,566

340,738

735

6,542

4,451

 


HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL/CHARITABLE CENTERS

 

Hospitals

Dispensaries

Leper Colonies

Homes   Elderly + Handicap

Orphanages

Children’s Homes

WORLD

5,188

17,157

825

12,209

8,246

11,911

Africa

808

4,191

372

455

729

1,645

America

1,864

5,676

84

3,166

2,280

5,297

Asia

1,027

3,198

361

1,222

2,968

2,485

Europe

1,362

3,917

6

7,092

2,043

2,402

Oceania

127

175

2

274

226

82

 


RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD
At the end of 1997, according to approximate statistics,
the religions of the world population of 5,820,767,000 were as follows:

CHRISTIANS 1, 994,754, 000 of whom 1, 005, 254 000 are Catholics

MUSLIMS 1,088,500,000

NO RELIGION 998,500,000

HINDUS 801,500,000

BUDDHISTS 396,500,000

ATHEISTS 244,500,000

NEW RELIGIONS 154,500,000

TRIBAL RELIGIONS 95,500,000

SIKHS 22,500,000

JEWS 21,500,000

This article has been selected from a ZENIT Special Report.
© Innovative Media, Inc.

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