World Population

The 2009 Pontifical Yearbook recorded that the number of Catholics worldwide increased by 1.4% from 2006-2007, just over the world population growth, which in the same period increased by 1.1%.

Priestly vocations also grew, though less (0.4%), but with notable differences between the continents: While Europe is witnessing a recession, Africa and Asia are experiencing an increase in vocations.

These are the main conclusions drawn from the "Annuario Pontificio," the official Vatican publication that gathers up-to-date statistical data on the worldwide Church. The volume was presented to Benedict XVI on Saturday.

The latest edition covers data relating to the growth from 2006 to 2007, explained a Vatican communiqué. According to the statistics, the number of Catholics in the world has increased from 1.131 billion to almost 1.147 billion in one year, 17.3% of the
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