CBCK News
2020-08-12 09:04
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Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2019

Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2019

On April 15, 2020, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) published the Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2019.

Based on compiled data from 15 dioceses and the Military Ordinariate in Korea, 7 Catholic universities, and about 169 religious institutes of men and women in Korea, the Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2019 presents annual statistics for the Catholic Church as of December 31, 2019. These statistics are helpful in better understanding the present situation of the Catholic Church in Korea and provide a useful point of reference for future pastoral ministry planning.

The following is a summary of the main statistical results:

According to the Statistics, the number of Catholics in Korea is 5,914,669, an increase of 0.8% (48,159) over the previous year. The Catholic population amounts to 11.1% of the total population of Korea, 53,121,668.

By gender, male faithful numbered 2,529,255 and female faithful 3,385,414, 42.8% and 57.2% respectively of Catholics in Korea. In the 20-29 age bracket, the ratio of male faithful was higher than that of female faithful, but the percentage of female faithful was higher for those over 30 years of age.

By age group, the number of faithful aged 55-59 accounted for 559,214 or 9.5% of the total (a decrease of 12,801 or 2.2% over the previous year); faithful aged 50-54 accounted for 510,907 or 8.6% (an increase of 3,838 or 0.8% over the previous year); those aged 45-49 represented 501,405 or 8.5% (a decrease of 8,344 or 1.6% over the previous year). The number of faithful aged 10-19 accounted for 346,884 or 5.9% (a decrease of 16,449 or 1.6% over the previous year). The number of people over 65 years of age accounted for 1,133,768 or 19.2% of the total, which marked an increase of 6.8% over the previous year.

Of the 15 dioceses, the Archdiocese of Seoul is the most populous with 1,528,876 or 25.8% of the total number of Catholics in Korea. According to population, the Archdiocese of Seoul is followed by the Diocese of Suwon (928,650 or 15.7%), the Diocese of Incheon (521,690 or 8.8%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (511,757 or 8.7%), the Diocese of Busan (460,003 or 7.8%), the Archdiocese of Gwangju (365,649 or 6.2%), the Diocese of Daejeon (335,152 or 5.7%), and the Diocese of Uijeongbu (315,620 or 5.3%). The number of Catholic faithful in Seoul and the surrounding urban areas (Suwon, Uijeongbu, Incheon), amounts to 3,294,836 or 55.7% of the total Catholic population of Korea.

Dioceses exhibiting an increase in numbers are: leading the way is the Diocese of Uijeongbu with an increase of 1.9%, followed by the Diocese of Daejeon (1.5%), the Dioceses of Cheju and Suwon (1.4%).

In terms of the percentage of Catholic population in relation to the local population, the Archdiocese of Seoul was ahead of others with a rate of 15.2%, followed by the Diocese of Cheju (12.1%), the Diocese of Cheongju (12%), the Diocese of Inchon (11.9%), and the Archdiocese of Daegu (11.4%).

The number of parishes in December 2019 was 1,756 and the number of secondary stations was 709: an increase in parishes of 9 and a decrease in secondary stations of 20 over the previous year.

The Statistics indicate that the number of clergy in Korea totaled 5,522; this was made-up of 42 bishops (including 2 Cardinals), 5,333 priests, and 147 foreign missionary priests. Among the priests, 4,537 were diocesan priests, 797 religious priests, and 146 missionary priests. The number of seminarians was 1,209, a decrease of 64 or 5% from the previous year.

There were 1,594 men religious, excluding novices, and there were 10,159 women religious. The number of novices in total was 352.

According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptized in 2019 was 81,039. This indicates a decrease of 134 or 0.2% over the previous year. By gender, there were 43,184 newly baptized men and 37,855 women; when compared to the previous year, there was an increase in male baptisms of 2.9% (1,212) and a decrease of 2.8% (1,078) in female baptisms. The number of children baptized amounted to 17,806 or 22% of the total number of baptisms, adult baptisms amounted to 58,198 or 71.8%, and baptisms in danger of death numbered 5,035 or 6.2%. 

The Sacrament of Matrimony was celebrated on 13,878 occasions in 2019, indicating a decrease of 2% from the previous year. Of this number, 8,718 cases were marriages involving a dispensation.

Over the year, the average number of Sunday Mass attendees was 1,080,687, 18.3% of the total Catholic population of Korea. The number of faithful who received First Communion was 18,581. The number of faithful who received the Sacrament of Reconciliation was 3,804,796, and the number who received the Sacrament of Confirmation was 41,329.