The figures, shared by the Fides News Service Oct. 16, showed that there were 15,716,000 more Catholics at the end of 2018 -- the most recent year where numbers are available -- compared to 2017.
was spread across all inhabited continents, with an increase of 94,000 in
Europe, 9.2 million in Africa, 4.5 million in the
that this was the third successive year that the number of Catholics in
Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies since 1927, presents the statistics annually ahead of World Mission Sunday, which takes place this Sunday, Oct. 18.
also indicated that the number of priests worldwide fell in 2018 to
414,065, with Europe registering the largest decrease, followed by the
Overall, there was a modest increase in the number of diocesan priests and a drop in the number of religious priests. The number of Catholics per priest increased slightly, with a global average of 3,210.
deacons continued to increase, reaching a total of 47,504, with the biggest
rises recorded in
The number of young men attending a minor seminary decreased for the third consecutive year, to 100,164. But the number attending major seminaries rose to 115,880.