As a man with fifteen years under his belt of consistent Christian ministry, I have always been curious to learn more about the different denominations that make up the Body Of Christ. The Catholic church is probably the most well-known denomination, practiced by millions of individuals worldwide. Among the many things I have always been curious to know is, which are the most catholic countries in the world?
The most catholic countries in the world, that make the top ten list by descending order are speculated to be Brazil, Mexico, The Philippines, The United States, Italy, France, Colombia, Poland, Spain, and The Democratic Republic of Congo. All these countries are estimated to have the highest percentages of Catholic-faithful worldwide.
In this article, I encourage you to join me as we discuss this topic and discover the estimated population of Catholic-faithful around the world from the highest to the lowest, and the countries with the fastest rising or declining Catholic population. Keep reading to learn more.
How many catholic churches are there in the world?
There are twenty-four catholic churches all over the world. One of those churches is the Western or Latin Catholic church, while the other twenty-three are Eastern Catholic churches.
Even though the other twenty-three are collectively known as Eastern Catholic churches or sui iuris (self-governing) churches, they are not the same. They consist of Coptic, Maronite, Ukrainian, and Melkite churches.
The difference between the Latin or Western Church and the Eastern churches is in governance. The Latin Church is headed by the Pope, while the Eastern Churches are autonomous in their governance. They usually appoint an individual Bishop, Archbishop, or Patriarch to govern them.
Despite this difference, there is still a unifying aspect of the Catholic church as a whole, as the Eastern Churches still follow the devotional, theological, and liturgical principles of the Catholic church. There may be slight differences in the theology of Eastern churches, but they all submit to the doctrine and dogmas of the universal Catholic Church.
Any Catholic belonging to the Eastern church may attend mass and receive the sacraments at any time, as a fulfillment of their obligations as true Catholics.
What is the catholic population percentage in the world?
The latest statistics have shown that within the Christian faith, Catholics comprise an estimated 50% of Christians. This means that from a global perspective, Catholics make up about 16% of the global population.
In 1910, Catholics were estimated to be 291 million in total, which made up 48% of Christians and 17% of the world’s population. As the population has increased significantly over a century, the percentage of Catholics has increased too. Catholics now comprise about half (50%) of the Christians worldwide and 16% of the global population.
Top 10 countries with the most catholic population
The top ten countries with the most catholic population in descending order, include Brazil, Mexico, The Philippines, The United States, Italy, France, Colombia, Poland, Spain, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Brazil would be considered to be at the top of this list, as its population consists of the highest number of Catholics worldwide. Brazil is estimated to have 127 million Catholics, making up 55% of its total population. Catholicism was introduced by the Portuguese, and the first diocese was created in 1551.
Mexico comes second and is estimated to have an estimated 100 million of its citizens identifying as Catholics. This makes up about 72% of its total population. Catholicism is known to have been introduced by the Spanish in the early 1500s.
The Philippines may have 76 million Catholics, which make up about 81% of the country’s total population. In Asia, it has one of the largest Catholic populations. Catholicism was introduced to the Philippines by the Spanish.
The United States
In the United States, it is speculated that 51 million U.S. citizens identify as Catholic. This makes up about 21% of the population. Catholicism was introduced by the Spanish in the 1500s and began in states now known as Texas and Florida.
Italy may have about 50 million of its citizens following the Catholic faith, which makes up about 78% of its total population. In this country, Catholicism has a large influence, as Vatican City is located in Italy. The Vatican is considered a place for pilgrimage and is often a place to visit for Catholics, to deepen their beliefs.
France is estimated to have 40 million citizens identifying as Catholics. This comprises about 63-65% of its total population. The earliest signs of Catholicism in France began appearing in the second century. Since then, it has spread far and wide.
Colombia is known to be one of the most devout Catholic countries in South America, with an estimated 36 million Catholics. This comprises 75% of the total country’s population.
Catholicism is known as the most prominent religion in Poland, with an estimated 33 million Catholic-faithful followers. This makes up about 87% of the total country’s population.
Spain is speculated to have 32 million citizens identifying as Catholic, which makes up about 61% of the total country’s population.
The Democratic Republic of Congo
The DRC is one of the most devoutly Catholic countries in Africa. It is estimated to have over 28 million practicing Catholics, which make up about 33% of the total population.
10 countries with the least catholic population
The top 10 countries with the least catholic population, in descending order, are Afghanistan, Somalia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Maldives, Yemen, Iran, and Azerbaijan.
Afghanistan has the least catholic population and is estimated to be at 0%. The main religion practiced is Islam, and there are no known Christian churches in existence.
Somalia’s catholic population is estimated to be 0%. The majority of the people are Muslims, which would explain the non-existence of Catholics.
In Turkmenistan, the Catholic population is estimated to be 0.01% of the total country’s population. It is estimated to have 89% of its population identifies as Muslim, 10% are of the Eastern Orthodox church, and the remaining 1% is unknown.
In Tajikistan, the Catholic population is estimated to be 0.01% of the total population. The majority of the citizens practice Islam, followed by Russian Orthodox, and the rest are either irreligious or another religion.
It is quite difficult to find information on the religious demographic of this country. It is estimated that there are 0.01% of Catholics that make up about 2300 citizens out of the total population.
In Uzbekistan, the Catholic population is estimated to be 0.01% of the total country’s population. This consists of about 2,500 citizens who identify as Catholic.
The Maldives is an island nation and is estimated to have 0.02% of its total population identifying as Catholic.
Yemen is estimated to have 0.02% of its total population identifying as Catholics. This would account for about 4000 citizens out of the total population.
Being an Islamic country, it is no surprise that the percentage of Catholics is estimated to be 0.02% of the total population. The total number of Catholics countrywide is speculated to be about 13,000.
In Azerbaijan, the percentage of Catholics is speculated to be 0.03% of the total population. It is estimated that about 4600 citizens identify as Catholic. Also, Azerbaijan is a secular state that allows religious freedom. Due to this, it is known as one of the least religious countries in the world.
Which country has a rapidly rising catholic population in the world?
The country with a rapidly rising catholic population worldwide is the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is speculated that a rapid increase in the Catholic population is likely to triple, until the year 2050. If this occurs, it will be ranked as the fifth country on the top ten list of high Catholic- populated countries, from its current number ten.
Which country has the fastest-declining catholic population in the world?
Poland has the fastest-declining catholic population worldwide.
Its decline is predicted to be caused by the increase in secularization, especially in European countries. It may be also caused by the increased influence of the Protestant denomination.
If the trend continues, Poland may lose its place among the top ten highest catholic countries.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.