success stories

Worldwide Statistics on the
Growth of Vocations to the Priesthood
and the Catholic Population

From the Vatican Yearbook Annuario

The number of seminarians worldwide has grown 73 percent under the reign of Pope John Paul II.

The greatest increase was in Africa and Asia.

The latest statistics date to 2000 and show that the number of priests in the world increased over the previous year by 189, to more than 405,000. This reflects an overall increase of nearly 800 diocesan priests and a “decrease” of 600 religious priests.

The number of seminarians had increased from about 64,000 in 1978 to more than 110,500 in 2000, a rise of 73.1 percent. The greatest increase came in Africa, where the number of seminarians more than tripled; Asia followed with an increase of 125 percent; the Americas showed an increase of 65 percent; and Europe's increase was 12 percent.

The global Catholic population grew in 2000 to 1.05 billion, equivalent to 17.3 percent of the world population.

Almost half the Catholic population -- 49.4 percent -- now lives in the Americas, while 26.7 percent lives in Europe, 12.4 percent in Africa, 10.7 percent in Asia and 0.8 percent in Oceania.

The overall church workforce shows a continuing increase in deacons and catechists. Currently about 4.1 million people are engaged in the church's pastoral work, including nearly 4,500 bishops, nearly 28,000 permanent deacons, more than 55,000 religious brothers, more than 801,000 women religious, nearly 31,000 members of secular orders, more than 126,000 lay missionaries and 2.6 million catechists.