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The World's Catholic Population (Infographic)

Infographic: how the world's Catholic population has changed over the past century
A study by the Pew Research Center shows that the total number of Catholics in the world has tripled in the past century. (Image credit: Ross Toro, Livescience contributor)

Over the past century, the number of Catholics around the world has more than tripled, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. As of 2010, there are nearly 1.1 billion Catholics, up from an estimated 291 million in 1910.

Catholics comprise 50 percent of all Christians worldwide and 16 percent of the world’s total population.

In 2010, the majority of the world’s Catholics were to be found in the Latin American/Carribbean region (39 percent, or 425 million). In 1910, two-thirds of Catholics (65 percent) lived in Europe. By 2010, only about a quarter of Catholics (24 percent) live in Europe.

The country with the largest Catholic population in the world, Brazil was 65 percent Catholic in 2010, down from 74 percent in 2000. 

The country with the second-largest Catholic population, Mexico, dropped from 89 percent in 2000 to 85 percent in 2010.

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Ross Toro
Ross Toro is a contributing infographic artist for Live Science. He specializes in explanatory graphics that deal with science topics. Ross is a former art director of the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and United Press International. He teaches Filipino martial arts when not dabbling in cartoons and animation.