There were 1.16 billion baptised Catholics in the world in 2008, up 1.7% (19m) on the previous year, and making up 17.4% of the world's population, according to the latest Annuario Pontificio.
In the same period the world's population went from 6.6bn to 6.7bn. The Catholic share of that population increased slightly, from 17.3 to 17.4%.
The lion's share of that increase, of course, was in the developing world.
Other trends revealed in the annual Vatican statistical round-up of the latest figures (from 2008):
- Bishops slightly up -- there are now more than 5,000 of them worldwide.
- Priest numbers also up -- from 408,024 in 2007 to 409,166 in 2008, of whom 47.1% are in Europe, 30% in the Americas, 13.2% in Asia, 8.7% in Africa and just 1.2% in Oceania. But the European proportion is in decline (from 51.5% to 47.1% between 2000 and 2008) while the share of priests in Africa and Asia is increasing.
- Women religious down -- now numbering 739,067, compared with 801,185 in 2000. The decline is most marked in Europe (-17,6%), America (-12,9%) and Oceania (-14,9%), while numbers of nuns in Africa (16,4%) and Asia (16,4%) are increasing.
- Vocations to priesthood are also slightly up (1%) to 117,024 in 2008.