Catholic Herald logo
There are around 1.2 billion Catholics in the world today; by 2050 it may be 1.6 billion (CNS)

Catholicism’s incredible growth story

Critics keep announcing the Church’s imminent demise. If only they realised that numbers have doubled since 1970 – and are still rising

Worshippers at an Easter Vigil Mass at Westminster Cathedral (PA)

The Church has the highest retention rate of any denomination, but the lowest rate of conversions

Oksana Vydash holds her goddaughter Veronika Victoria Shalai during her baptism at St Mary's Assumption Ukrainian Catholic Church in St Louis (CNS)

The new figures have been revealed in the 2016 Vatican yearbook

Children at Regina Mundi Catholic church in Soweto. The Church continues to grow in Africa (CNS)

Study reports that there were 1.23 billion faithful worldwide at the end of 2012

Bishops from Latin America attend a papal Mass in Sao Paolo. Half of the world's Catholics live in the Americas (Photo: CNS)

Number of Catholics, priests, bishops and deacons all increased in 2009, but number of female religious declined

We remain, by a large majority, a Christian culture