Church in Africa Data Over Time

Generally, these data reflect the situation at the beginning of the calendar year listed. The source for this information is the Vatican’s Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae (ASE). Entries reading “–” have no data available at this time and “na” is not applicable.

1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
2015
2017
Total priests  15,978  17,346  18,058  20,399  23,922  27,165  33,618  37,527  44,048 50,935
Diocesan priests  5,034  6,052  7,639  10,287  13,421  16,962  21,164  25,434  30,538 36,994
Religious priests  15,978  11,294  10,419  10,112  10,501  10,203  11,206  12,093  13,510 13,941
Diocesan priestly ordinations  284  397  492  715  939 1,177  1,205  1,572  1,403 1,462
Graduate-level seminarians  2,459  2,801  4,551  7,010  8,687  9,876  10,847  12,022  12,375 13,593
Permanent deacons  55  131  196  275  336  361  374  401  450 465
Religious sisters  33,691  35,586  38,086  42,429  47,572  52,583  58,781  66,375  71,567 73,999
Religious brothers  4,940  5,364  5,208  5,963  6,635  7,256  7,948  8,564  8,781 8,779
Parishes  6,099  7,162  8,231  8,967  9,692  11,022  12,667  14,401  16,315 17,172
Parishes without a resident priest pastor  849  1,029  1,291  1,299  1,371  1,470  1,346  1,176  816 891
Parishes where a bishop has entrusted the pastoral care of the parish to a deacon or some other person 185  262  309  354  294  285  277  283  126 139
Catholic population  45.5m  58.7m  72.7m  88.9m  107.1m  130.0m  153.5m  185.6m  222.2m 234.0m
Percent of Africa population  12.1%  12.5%  13.1%  13.9%  14.8%  16.5%  17.1%  18.3% 19.4% 19.2%
Catholic elementary schools  18,649  18,654  23,732  23,650  27,688  30,245  32,643  34,238  39,055 45,088
Students in Catholic elementary schools  4.221m  5.611m  7.053m  8.394m  9.356m  10.158m  12.436m  15.821m  17.594m 19.171m
Catholic secondary schools  2,138  3,244  3,661  4,449  5,611  7,297  8,607  11,477  14,166 15,238
Students in Catholic secondary schools  599,016  806,533  1.032m  1.275m  1.702m  2.267m  3.438m  4.541m  5.499m 6.368m
Baptisms of infants to age 7  1.168m  1.414m  1.570m  1.854m  2.117m  2.266m  2.366  2.443m  2.724m 2.919m
Baptisms of those ages 8 and older  574,725  587,257  798,351  945,713  1.102m  1.308m  1.134m  1.197m  1.319m 1.483m
Marriages between two Catholics  145,539  152,798  178,954  203,546  244,483  326,173  301,891  310,520  310,955 336,761
Marriages between a Catholic and a non-Catholic  24,710  24,887  34,224  40,901  36,056  42,480  40,149  40,740  42,681 53,911
Confirmations  1.188m  1.308m  1.504m  1.478m  1.475m  1.626m 1.644m
First Communions  1.446m  1.476m  1.708m  1.835m  1.688m  1.943m 2.048m
Catholic hospitals  883  898  832  819  1,046  1,150  1,295 1,367
Catholic orphanages  563  533  743  859  843  1,345  1,191 1,663
Note: The ASE, upon which the world data above is based, is released two years after the most current year measured. Thus, the ASE 2017, which was released in 2019, represents 2017 totals. For 2019, there are no current world data sources available.