The word Catholic, as in the phrase Catholic Church, comes from the old Greek katholikismos, meaning universal doctrine. Just from the name, its only natural to see that the one true church of Jesus Christ has the most faithful on Earth, with over 1.29 billion worldwide.

The Catholic Faith is present in virtually all countries as well, but what are the top ten countries with the most Catholics?

Every year the Vatican publishes their annual directory book, the Annuario Pontificio, which contains statistics compiled by the Vatican Central Office for Church Statistics.

These statistics for 2017 reveal that Africa is poised to be fastest growing continent of the Faith, with the number of those newly baptized into a covenant with God growing much faster than anywhere else in the world. However, the top ten countries with the most Catholics have remained relatively constant in past years. Five are located in what the Vatican calls ‘America’, three in Europe, one in Asia, and one in Africa. Combined, they account for just over half the total Catholic population in the world.

Here are the top ten countries with the most Catholics:

1. Brazil – 172.2 million
2. Mexico – 110.9 million
3. The Philippines – 83.6 million
4. The United States – 72.3 million
5. Italy – 58 million
6. France – 48.3 million
7. Colombia – 45.3 million
8. Spain 43.3 million
9. Democratic Republic of Congo – 43.2 million
10. Argentina – 40 million

Leading these faithful to the Church are 5304 Bishops, 415,656 priests, and 45,255 permanent deacons. Africa remains again the leader in vocations, gaining over 1,000 priests and seeing a fourteen percent increase in permanent deacons in five years.

Chart source: Wikipedia

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  1. That’s good. It only worries me when I listen to fake videos wherein they portray as the declining trend among Catholics and other religions gaining more popularity amongst people. However, we don’t have to worry about the devil as we know that our God is àn awesome God.

    • Because mexicans follow a mostly poorly informed, cultural and habitual practice of the faith.
      As a matter of fact, most ‘highly Catholic’ countries’ do so as well’, and that goes for the US too.
      As a result of that many CINOs (Catholic In Name Only people) are falling into the ‘protestant missionary bible-thumpter trap’ and thus thousands of them are now filling the pews of protestant sects that offer entertainment and stellar preaching rather than truth.

      • Forgot to say that much to the chagrin of those of us who know the faith and try to practice it in its fullness, see with sadness that the Church has done a poor job of catechizing the faithful.
        There are many things that we as Catholics have to admire of some of the protestant sects, which despite the obvious lack of truth in their doctrines, history and teachings, manage to keep their believers faithful and highly dedicated. Among these are the more dogmatic sects such as the JWs and Adventists. However, Mormons are particularly committed, they not only keep their faithful well in check, attending church faithfully, and once they are out of High School enthused enough to go for training into a missionary center, and subsequently on to a two year mission.
        Further, the zeal and dedication to the mormon church does not end there. Married couples in their 50’s and 60’s, and even successful businessmen are ‘called’ again to serve for another two years in foreign lands as ‘mission presidents’.
        The CC does not at all make good use of the gifts many faithful lay people have to offer, rather staying away from demands on their time and knowledge. Lay people are either distrusted to communicate the faith with precision, or simply neglected and their talent wasted, despite the fact that the Church now suffers from a dearth of vocations.
        I am sure there are many highly committed Catholics who, if called to serve, could be of great benefit to keeping their brethren in the Church

        • If a Catholic truly takes the time to deepen their knowledge and faith about the history and truth of Catholicism, it becomes dead obvious that it is the Church that Christ Himself founded and that one is obligated to follow (all of) its teachings. I wouldn’t say the Church’s methods of catechizing the faith are at fault, but rather it falls largely on an individual’s willingness to truly commit to what being a Catholic means. The tools are there, we just have to make use of them.

          • I completely agree. We have lost the “quiet” in our lives when we commune with God! We can’t hear Him over the “Noise” in our lives that we habitually inflict upon ourselves and by others!
            I pray we “Unplug” ourselves daily, sit before the Most Holy Eucharist, open a good Catholic book (Holy Bible and approved authors), and listen to our Lord speak to our souls!

    • Sorry those figures are not accurate, i doubt ITALY having 40 millions, SPAIN 43 millions this is not true
      I think those figures are mentionning those who were baptised
      The church should rather have an estimation of those going to church every sunday
      and you ll find that CONGO is among the top 4 and Italy and Spain not among the TOP 5
      Asians and Africans and at some extens latinos are church goers not Westerners……
      That s the reality just go any european country a sunday and tour 4 church and make your own assessment

  2. I don’t think the data is accurate. In Argentina we’re barely 40 millions citizens. There’s no way that we all are catholic.

    • I agree with you. They didn’t even mention Poland, 38.5 million people, although certainly not all are Catholic it’s a Catholic country. I don’t understand what criteria where used for writing that report.

  3. Lets include ,God,the Father Almighty in our daily prayer as our spiritual Father ,with Lord’s Prayer as Jesus taught us,knock your heart in prayers,..GTFAlmighty have a message for this generation

    • Good man, Raul. I cannot understand any prayer that does not centre on GTFA (all praise to Him, and all thanks). Jesus (bless him always) taught us well in TLP, but we’ve gone and added embroidery he no doubt wouldn’t recognize today.

  4. Consider also relative number, Slovakia has a majority comprising Catholics, but due to small population, it is coloured with bright…

  5. The article should have included percentage of Catholics from total population. And the small Mediterranean island state of Malta would have topped the list

  6. For me, the main issue is the old “quality over quantity” issue. The U.S would be colored the same as Canada or Australia if quality of Catholic were considered. It’s the old “Catholic In Name Only” (CINO) issue to me.

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  12. Brazil is definitely NOT a Catholic country!! At best, only a quarter of the population practices the faith. Most Brazilians are pagans who practice pseudo-African nonsense resembling voodoo. Others are spiritists who believe in speaking to dead through mediums, reinca4nation, etc. Then a good 35% of the population belongs to one of the thousands of Protestant sects. Others mix all the above. And if you go to a « Catholic » Mass, be prepared for every type of liturgical abuse you could imagine.


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