Vatican report: Number of Catholics worldwide rises to 1.3 billion

The Vatican has released the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2016, the most current version of Church statistics. 

According to the report, there are now 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide, following a 1.1 percent increase between 2015 and 2016. However, as the world population is greater, the percentage of total Catholics has decreased. 

The Americas maintain the largest Catholic population, representing 48.6 percent of those baptized globally. Africa is the fastest-growing continent, as it experienced a 23-percent growth between 2010 and 2016.

In the same period, the total number of priests worldwide increased by 0.7 percent, though most continents experienced a general decline.