Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2018
In April 2019, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) published the Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2018.
On the basis of the compiled data from 15 dioceses and the Military Ordinariate in Korea, 7 Catholic universities, and about 160 religious institutes of men and women in Korea, the Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2018 presents annual statistics for the Catholic Church as of December 31, 2018. These statistics will be helpful in better understanding the present situation of the Catholic Church in Korea and will provide a useful point of reference for future pastoral ministries.
The following is a summary of the main statistical results:
According to the Statistics, as of December 31, 2018, the number of Catholics in Korea was 5,866,510, an increase of 0.9% (52,740) over the previous year. The Catholic population amounts to 11.1% of the total population of Korea, 53,072,685: 51,826,059 Korean national based on resident registration and 1,246,626 foreigners. The number of Catholics in Korea increased to over 10% in 2009 and reached 11% in 2017.
By gender, male faithful numbered 2,499,632 and female faithful 3,366,878, respectively 42.6% and 57.4% of Catholics in Korea. The ratio of male faithful was slightly higher than that of female faithful in the 0-29 year age bracket, but the percentage of female faithful was higher from 30 years of age onwards.
By age group, the percentage of faithful aged 55-59 accounted for 9.8% of the total, faithful aged 45-49 represented 8.7%, and those aged 50-54 made-up 8.7%. The number of faithful aged 10-19 accounted for 363,333, or 6.2% of the total number of Catholics in Korea. The number of people over 65 years of age accounted for 1,133,768 or 19.4% of the total, which marked an increase over the 18.4% 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 faithful standing at 1,529,835 or 26.1% of the total number of Catholics in Korea. The Archdiocese of Seoul was followed by the Diocese of Suwon (916,085 or 15.6%), the Diocese of Incheon (517,105 or 8.8%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (507,833 or 8.7%), the Diocese of Busan (457,622 or 7.8%), the Archdiocese of Gwangju (363,697 or 6.2%), the Diocese of Daejeon (330,324 or 5.6%), and the Diocese of Uijeongbu (309,591 or 5.3%). The number of Catholic faithful in Seoul and surrounding urban areas (Suwon, Uijeongbu, Incheon), amounts to 3,272,616 or 55.8% of the total Catholic population of Korea.
Dioceses exhibiting an increase in numbers are: the Diocese of Uijeongbu led the way with an increase of 1.8%, followed by the Diocese of Cheju (1.7%), the Diocese of Suwon (1.7%), and the Diocese of Daejeon (1.6%).
In terms of percentage of Catholic population in comparison with the local population, the Archdiocese of Seoul was ahead of others with a rate of 15.6%, followed by the Diocese of Cheongju (11.9%), the Diocese of Inchon (11.7%), the Dioceses of Cheju (11.6%), and the Archdiocese of Daegu (11.3%).
The number of parishes in 2018 was 1,747, an increase of 13, and the number of secondary stations was 729, a decrease of 8 from the previous year.
The Statistics also indicate that the number of clergy in Korea in 2018 totaled 5,430; this was made-up of 42 bishops, including 2 Cardinals, and 5,233 priests, 155 foreign missionary priests. Among the priests, 4,456 were diocesan priests, 786 religious priests, and 146 missionary priests. The number of seminarians was 1,273, a decrease of 3.5% from the previous year.
There were 1,592 men religious, excluding novices, while there were 10,145 women religious. The number of novices in total was 377.
According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptized in 2018 was 80,905. This indicates a decrease of 16.4% (15,889 baptisms) from the previous year. By gender, there were 41,972 newly baptized men and 38,933 women; when compared to the previous year, there was a decrease in male baptisms of 18.3% (9,424 in number) and a decrease of 14.2% (6,465 in number) in female baptisms. The number of children baptized amounted to 18,942 or 23.4% of the total number of baptisms, adult baptisms amounted to 56,856 or 70.3%, and baptism in danger of death amounted to 5,107 or 6.3%.
The number of celebrations of the Sacrament of Matrimony amounted to 14,167 in 2018, indicating a decrease of 10.6% from the previous year. Of this number, 8,606 cases were marriages involving a dispensation.
The average number of Sunday Mass attendees was 1,075,089, 18.3% of the total Catholic population of Korea. The number of the faithful who received First Communion was 17,832. The number of faithful who celebrated the Sacrament of Confession was 3,789,949, and the number of those who received the Sacrament of Confirmation was 42,455.