Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – As every year, in view of World Mission Day, this year celebrated on Sunday, October 20, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church all over the world. The tables are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published (updated to 31 December 2011) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Please note that variations, increase or decrease, emerging from our own comparison with last year's figures, are marked increase + or decrease – in brackets
To 31 December 2011 the world population was 6,933,310,000 with an increase of 84,760,000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent above all in Asia (+ 46,690,000) and Africa (+ 23,932,000) followed by America (+ 11,311,000); Europe (+ 2,332,000) and Oceania (+ 495,000).
On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1,213,591,000 units with an overall increase of 17.920.000 more than the previous year. The increase affects all continents especially Africa (+ 8,047,000); America (+6.312,000) and Asia (+ 2,577,000); followed by Europe (+ 822,000) and Oceania (+ 162,000).
The world percentage of Catholics increased by 0.04 %, settling at 17.50%. By continent: increases were registered in Africa (+ 0.35); Asia (+ 0.03) and Oceania (+0.1), while decrease was shown in America (- 0.09) and Europe (- 0.02)
Catholic schools and Education
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71,482 kindergartens with 6,720,545 pupils; 94,411 primary schools with 31,939,415 pupils; 43,777 secondary schools with 18,952,976 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,494,111 high school pupils, and 3,039,684 university students. Compared to the previous year there has been an increase concerning kindergartens (+938) and concerning pupils (+ 241,918); primary schools (+ 1,564) and pupils (+788.245); increase in secondary schools (+186) and pupils (+ 1,159,417); there is also an increase in secondary school pupils (+189,940) and a decrease concerning university students (- 298,771).
Catholic charity and healthcare centres
Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church are 117,119 and include: 5,435 hospitals (+ 130 more than the previous year) most of them in America (1,701) and Africa (1,284); 17,524 dispensaries (- 655) mainly in Africa (5,398); America (5,211) and Asia (3,828); 567 Care Homes for people with Leprosy (+20) mainly in Asia (281) and Africa (211); 15,784 (- 1,439) Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability mainly in Europe (8,271) and America (3,913); 10,534 orphanages (+ 652), about one third in Asia (3,911); 11,592 creches; 15,008 marriage counselling centres mainly in America (6,230) and Europe (5,819); 40,671 social rehabilitation centres and 4 other kinds of institutions. (read full report)