Church growth rates highest outside Europe and the Americas

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June 2, 2015

A displaced man sings and plays the tambourine during Mass in a makeshift chapel inside a U.N. base in Malakal, South Sudan, April 9. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey) See SSUDAN-BASSANO May 6, 2015.

A displaced man sings and plays the tambourine during Mass in a makeshift chapel inside a U.N. base in Malakal, South Sudan. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Results of a study released June 1 by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate said that the highest growth rates in Catholicism are in Africa and Asia.

“Overall, the global Catholic population has grown by 57 percent since 1980. However, this growth differs by region, with Europe’s Catholic population growing by just 6 percent while the number of Catholics in Africa grew by 238 percent,” said the report, “Global Catholicism: Trends & Forecasts.” “Differences between these two regions are largely attributable to differences in fertility rates over time.”

“Over the last 50 years, the proportion of the global population who are Catholic has remained remarkably steady at about 17.5 percent. Most demographers anticipate a global population exceeding 10 billion by 2100, up from 7.3 billion now. The ‘engine’ of population growth is no longer increasing numbers of children — it is extending life expectancies,” said the report by CARA, which is based at Georgetown University.

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