The following comes from a March 9 Catholic News Agency article by Ann Schneible:

The number of Catholics has increased at a faster rate than the rest of the population, newly released statistics by the Vatican reveal.

Over the course of nine years, the number of Catholics worldwide has increased by 17.8 percent, compared to the global population, which increased by 17.3 percent.

From 2005-2014, the number of Catholics grew from 1.12 billion to 1.27 billion.

The greatest increase in Catholics was seen in the African continent at 41 percent, amid an overall population growth of 23.8 percent. This was followed by Asia, with a 20 percent Catholic increase vs. the 9.6 percent population increase, then America which saw an 11.7 percent increase in Catholics compared to 9.6 percent of the population.

There was also a worldwide increase in the number of diocesan and religious priests, mostly in Africa and Asia, although there was a decline in new priests in Europe and Oceana.

While the number of permanent deacons increased in the African continent, the rest of the world saw a decline. Likewise, female religious saw a decline, but an increase in Africa and Asia.

Seminarians for the priesthood increased from 114,439 in 2005 to 116,939 in 2014, peaking in 2011 at 120,616. The number of seminarians was consistently highest in Africa, Asia, and Oceana, while Europe and America saw a decline.