More Than 1/3 of California Population Will Be Catholic by 2025
Growth Rates Exceed Non-Catholic Population by More Than 3 Times
SACRAMENTO, CA, Jun. 19, 2006 (home.businesswire.com) - With an Eye on the Future, California Bishops Look to Identify Ways to Serve 5.6 Million New Catholics over the Next 20 Years.
California's Catholic population is growing by more than 13 percent each year, and by 2025 Catholics will make up more than 36 percent of the state's population, up from 30 percent in 2005, according to a landmark demographic study conducted for the California Catholic Conference.
In 2005, 11.1 million of California's 36.6 million people were Catholic; by 2025, 16.7 million of state's expected 45.9 million residents will be Catholic, an increase of 5.6 million people. By contrast, California's non-Catholic population is growing at a rate of 4 percent a year.
Catholics represent nearly 60 percent of California's projected population growth in the next 20 years.
"We are truly blessed that the Catholic Church in California is vibrant and growing, but our future should not happen by accident," said the Most Reverend Stephen Blaire, Bishop of Stockton and President of the California Catholic Conference. "As pastors responsible for the spiritual well-being of our Catholic people, studies like this will help us do what we need to do to better serve the needs of burgeoning Catholic communities throughout the state."
The study, produced for the California Catholic Conference by Joseph Claude Harris, a Seattle researcher, paints a picture of vibrant and dynamic growth for the Catholic Church in California.
By 2025, 4.3 million new Catholics will be baptized, over 3.1 million children will celebrate their First Holy Communion and the average parish will have expanded by over 1,800 families. The state's total Catholic population will grow by 5.6 million -- 3.5 million from a natural increase (births in excess of deaths) and 2.1 million as a result of migration from other states and countries.
A major factor driving the growth of the Church in California is the growth in California's Hispanic population, an estimated 60 percent of who is Catholic.