Worldwide Roman Catholic Church Workforce Increases

International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 2011 | Go to article overview

Worldwide Roman Catholic Church Workforce Increases


The latest edition of the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae (Statistical Yearbook of the Church), which was released by the Vatican in May 2010, reports the population of various categories of clergy, religious, and laity worldwide as of December 31,2008. Comparing these figures with the corresponding totals for the preceding year, the table below shows that while the numbers of religious sisters and brothers declined slightly worldwide, the numbers in all other categories increased. Globally, the total Catholic population also increased by 1.7 percent during 2008.

Workforce for the Apostolate, Worldwide and in the United States

Category                      End-2007        End-2008      Change

Bishops                          4,946           5,002       +1.1%
Priests, diocesan and          408,024         409,166       +0.3%
  religious
Graduate-level                  58,960          58,959  no change
  seminarians
Permanent deacons               35,942          37,203       +3.5%
Religious brothers              54,956          54,641       -0.6%
Religious sisters              746,814         739,068       -1.0%
Catechists                   2,993,354       3,082,562       +3.0%
Total Catholics          1,146,656,000   1,165,714,000       +1.7%

The Roman Catholic Church Worldwide (Changes from 2003 to 2008)

Region                                                          2003

Africa              Catholic population                  143,659,000
                    Priests, diocesan and religious           30,419
                    Catholics per priest                       4,723

North America       Catholic population                   79,645,000
(excluding          Priests, diocesan and religious           56,079
Mexico)             Graduate-level seminarians                 1,420

Central America     Catholic population                  150,836,000
(including Mexico   Priests, diocesan and religious    2,185,523,219
and Caribbean)      Catholics per priest                       6,902

South America       Catholic population                  310,536,000
                    Priests, diocesan and religious           43,567
                    Catholics per priest                       7,128

Asia                Catholic population                  112,668,000
                    Priests, diocesan and religious           46,800
                    Catholics per priest                       2,407

Europe              Catholic population                  279,701,000
                    Priests, diocesan and religious          201,854
                    Catholics per priest                       1,386

Oceania             Catholic population                    8,512,000
                    Priests, diocesan and religious            4,876
                    Catholics per priest                       1,746

WORLDWIDE           Catholic population                1,085,557,000
                    Priests, diocesan and religious          405,450
                    Catholics per priest                       2,677

Region                                                          2008

Africa              Catholic population                  172,950,000
                    Priests, diocesan and religious           35,611
                    Catholics per priest                       4,857

North America       Catholic population                   83,097,000
(excluding          Priests, diocesan and religious           52,265
Mexico)             Graduate-level seminarians                 1,590

Central America     Catholic population                  160,061,000
(including Mexico   Priests, diocesan and religious            6. … 

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Worldwide Roman Catholic Church Workforce Increases
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