Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2014
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) published Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2014 on April 3, 2015.
According to the Statistics, as of December 31, 2014, the number of Catholics in Korea was 5,560,971, an increase of 2.2% (117,975) over the last year. This amounts to 10.6% of the total population. The total number of Catholics in Korea has slightly and consistently increased since 2004. Especially since 2009, the rate of Catholics in Korea has hovered around the 10% mark.
Of the 15 dioceses and the Military Ordinariate in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul was the most populous with the number of the faithful standing at 1,492,449 or 26.8% of the total Catholics in Korea. The Seoul Archdiocese was followed by the Diocese of Suwon (848,221 or 15,3%), the Diocese of Incheon (487,145 or 8.8%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (485,341 or 8.7%), the Diocese of Busan (442,392 or 8.0%), the Archdiocese of Gwangju (351,762 or 6.3%), the Diocese of Daejeon (303,223 or 5.5%), and the Diocese of Uijeongbu (289,590 or 5.2%). Adding up the number of the faithful in metropolitan areas, i.e. Seoul, Suwon, Uijeongbu, and Incheon, the number amounts to 56.1% of the Catholics in Korea.
In terms of the percentage of the Catholic population compared to the local population, the Archdiocese of Seoul was ahead of others with the rate of 14.8%, followed by the Diocese of Cheju 11.9%, the Diocese of Incheon 11.4%, the Diocese of Cheongju 11.3%, the Diocese of Suwon 10.9%, and the Archdiocese of Daegu 10.7%. The numbers of each diocese show a similar trend or slight increase over last year. Especially, the Dioceses of Chunchon and Incheon show 1.0%p and 0.7%p increase respectively.
By gender, the number of the male faithful was 2,323,688 and that of the female faithful was 3,237,283, 41.8% and 58.2% respectively of all Catholics in Korea. The rate of the male faithful in the age bracket between 20 and 24 accounted for the largest share (58.7%), reflecting the active religious practice of the soldiers in their military service.
By age group, 52.2% of the total faithful were in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. The number of people under 20 years of age accounted for 11.3% and those over 60, 23.1%. The Statistics indicated that the rate of the faithful under 19 decreased by 3.6% from the previous year. On the contrary, the rate of the faithful over 65 increased by 5.2%, reflecting a rapidly aging society.
The Statistics also indicated that the number of clergy in Korea in 2014 amounted to 4,948, with 36 bishops including 2 Cardinals. The total number of Korean priests was 4,786 and foreign missionary priests 162. Among them, 4,087 were diocesan priests, 708 religious priests and 153 missionary priests. The new priests ordained in 2014 were 107, a decrease of 4 from the previous year. The number of seminarians was 1,435, a decrease of 1.9% from the previous year.
There were 1,574 men religious, including novices, religious in temporary and perpetual vows as well as foreign religious, while there were 10,160 women religious. The number of novices decreased by 35% from the year 2004.
According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptized in 2014 was 124,748. This indicates an increase of 5.0% over the previous year, which might indicate the effect of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Korea. By gender, newly baptized men represented 67,194 and women 57,554. The number of infants baptized amounted to 26,009, a decrease of 0.7% from the previous year.
The number of the celebrations of the Sacrament of Matrimony amounted to 19,781 in 2014, an increase of 1.8% over the previous year. Of this number 12,334 cases were marriages between a baptized and a non-baptized person. The number of the faithful who received the Sacrament of Confession was 4,55,580, a decrease of 2.3% from the previous year. The average rate for Sunday Mass attendance was 20.7% of the total Catholic population in Korea, a decrease of 0.5% from the previous year.
Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2014 is compiled on the basis of the data collected from 16 dioceses, 7 Catholic universities, and men and women religious institutes in Korea, which shows the annual statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea as of December 31, 2014. These statistics will be helpful to understand present situations of the Catholic Church in Korea and also be a useful point of reference for pastoral decisions.