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World Mission Sunday: number of Catholics continues to rise worldwide

St. Peter’s Basilica seen through a bubble on Dec. 3, 2019. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.



.- The number of Catholics worldwide increased by almost 16 million in a year to 1.33 billion, according to statistics highlighted by the Vatican ahead of the 2020 World Mission Sunday. 

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. 

This took the overall number of Catholics to 1,328,993,000, compared to 1,313,278,000 the year before.

The growth was spread across all inhabited continents, with an increase of 94,000 in Europe, 9.2 million in Africa, 4.5 million in the Americas, 1.8 million in Asia, and 177,000 in Oceania. 

Fides noted that this was the third successive year that the number of Catholics in Europe had risen.

But the percentage of Catholics in the world population remained unchanged at 17.73%, meaning that the number of Catholics is increasing in line with broader global population growth.

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. The figures are taken from the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae, or Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which was published March 25.

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