Statistics of the
Catholic Church in Korea 2017
The Catholic Bishops’
Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) published Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea
2017 on April 11, 2018.
On the basis of the
compiled data collected from 15 dioceses and the Military Ordinariate in Korea,
7 Catholic universities, and 167 men and women religious institutes in Korea,
the Statistics of the Catholic Church in
Korea 2017 shows the annual statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea as
of December 31, 2017. These statistics will be helpful to better understand the
present situation of the Catholic Church in Korea and also be a useful point of
reference for pastoral ministries.
The following is a summary
of the meaningful statistical results:
According to the Statistics, as of December 31, 2017, the number of Catholics in Korea was
5,813,770, an increase of 1.3% (71,821) over the previous year. It amounted to
11.0% of the total population of Korea, 52,950,306 (51,778,544 residents based on the resident registration;
The total number of Catholics in Korea has slightly and consistently increased
since 2005. Especially since 2009, the rate of Catholics in Korea has kept
going over the 10% mark towards 11%.
By gender, the number of
the male faithful was 2,469,148 and that of the female faithful was 3,334,622,
respectively 42.5% and 57.5% of all Catholics in Korea. The ratio of the male
faithful was slightly higher than that of the female faithful until 0-29 years
of age, but the percentage of the female faithful was higher in all ages from
30 years of age.
By age group, the
percentage of the faithful aged 55-59 accounted for 9.9%, followed by that of
the faithful aged 45-49, 8.9% and then those aged 50-54, 8.7%. The number of
the faithful in their 10s accounted for 381,234, or 6.6% in the total Catholics
in Korea. The number of people over 65 years of age accounted for 1,070,262 or
18.4% increase in comparison with 17.4% of the previous year.
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 1,527,951 or 26.3% of the
total Catholics in Korea. The Archdiocese of Seoul was followed by the Diocese
of Suwon (900,746 or 15.5%), the Diocese of Incheon (510,923 or 8.8%), the
Archdiocese of Daegu (503,551 or 8.7%), the Diocese of Busan (454,890 or 7.8%),
the Archdiocese of Gwangju (362,923 or 6.2%), the Diocese of Daejeon (324,998
or 5.6%), and the Diocese of Uijeongbu (304,048 or 5.2%). Adding up the number
of the faithful in national capital areas, i.e. Seoul, Suwon, Uijeongbu, and
Incheon, the number amounts to 3,243,668 or 55.8% of the Catholics in Korea.
With regard to the
increasing number of the diocesan faithful, the Diocese of Daejeon and the
Diocese of Uijeongbu were ahead of others with the rate of 2.2%, followed by
the Diocese of Cheju (1.9%), the Diocese of Suwon (1.8%), the Diocese of
Chunchon (1.5%), and the Diocese of Incheon (1.4%).
In terms of the
percentage of evangelization, namely of the Catholic population in comparison
with to the local population , the Archdiocese of Seoul was ahead of others
with the rate of 15.0%, followed by the Diocese of Cheongju (11.8%), the Dioceses
of Cheju and of Incheon (11.6%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (11.1%), and the
Archdiocese of Gwangju (11.0%).
The number of parishes in
2017 was 1,734, a slight increase of 15 and the number of secondary stations
was 737, a slight decrease of 4 from the previous year.
The Statistics also indicated that the number of clergy in Korea in
2017 amounted to 5,318 priests and 42 bishops including 2 Cardinals, 5,360 in
total . There were 5,160 Korean priests and 158 foreign missionary priests,
with an increase of 3.2% and a decrease of 3.7% respectively in comparison with
the previous year. Among them, 4,386 were diocesan priests, 781 religious
priests, and 151 missionary priests. The number of seminarians was 1,319, with
a decrease of 7.2% from the previous year.
There were 1,593 men
religious, excluding novices, while there were 10,143 women religious. The
number of novices in total was 394.
According to the Statistics, the number of the newly
baptized in 2017 was 96,794. This indicates a decrease of 12.9% (14,345 in
number) from the previous year. By gender, the newly baptized men and women
represented 51,396 and 45,398, with a decrease of 15.7% (9,541 in number) and a
decrease of 9.6% (4,804 in number) respectively in comparison with the previous
year. The number of children baptized amounted to 21,530 or 22.2%, whereas that
of adults baptized amounted to 69,754 or 72.1% (here, children refer to infants
and intellectually handicapped persons who are not able to receive the
The number of the
celebrations of the Sacrament of Matrimony amounted to 15,842 in 2017, with a
decrease of 8.6% from the previous year. Of this number 9,842 cases were
marriages with a dispensation, and 32 cases were mixed marriages.
The number of Sunday Mass
attendance was 1,130,599 at the rate of 19.4% among the total Catholic
population in Korea. The number of the faithful who received the First
Communion was 19,904. The number of the faithful who received the Sacrament of
Confession was 4,462,566. The number of those who received the Sacrament of Confirmation