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Catholic population shows slight growth

VATICAN (SE): The Church’s Book of Statistics published by the Vatican for 2015 shows that the global Catholic population has now grown to 1.284 billion, or 17.7 per cent of the total number of people in the world.
This represents a 12.5 million year on year increase compared with 2014. The statistics, published by Fides on October 22 to mark World Mission Day, show North and South America with the largest number of Catholics at 625 million, or 63.6 per cent of the 982 million population.
This represents a negligible percentage drop of 0.08 per cent.
Europe has 285 million Catholics, but recorded a slight decrease of 0.21 per cent, mostly due to a slight growth in the overall population, which climbed to 716 million.
It is followed by 222 million in Africa, an increase of 0.12 per cent, 141 million in Asia, which has not changed, and 10.2 million in Oceania, an increase of 0.24 per cent.
The number of dioceses worldwide at the end of 2015 stood at 3,006, with 1,091 in the Americas, 758 in Europe, 538 in Asia, 538 in Africa and 81 in Oceania.
The number of bishops increased by 67 to 5,304, while the priests declined by 136 to 415,656.

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