Taken together, the 10 countries with the most Catholics account for almost 56 per cent of the world’s Catholic population, the Vatican reported.
The 2017 Annuario Pontificio, or Vatican yearbook, and a new edition of the Vatican Statistical Yearbook report that the countries with the most Catholics are, in order: Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, United States, Italy, France, Colombia, Spain, Congo and Argentina.
The number of baptised Catholics grew one percent in a year to reach 1.285 billion as of 31st December 2015, the date to which the statistics in both books refer.
Looking at the period 2010-2015, the global Catholic population increased by 7.4 per cent, the Vatican said. Africa continued to be the continent with the largest percentage growth, increasing by 19.4 per cent over the same five-year period. The increase in Africa outpaced the growth of the general population.
In Europe, the Americas and Asia, generally speaking, the statistical growth or decline of the Catholic population coincided with the growth or decline of the population as a whole over the five-year period, according to the Central Office for Church Statistics.
Picture: People attend Mass in 2013 at the cathedral in Sao Paulo. Brazil is one of 10 countries with the most Catholics that account for almost 56 per cent of the world’s Catholic population, the Vatican reported. (CNS photo/Sebasti o Moreira, EPA).