Catholics Outnumbered by Muslims in the World for the First Time

According to the Vatican, for the first time ever, there are more Musliams than Roman Catholics in the world. Monsignor Vittorio Formenti compiled the Vatican's 2008 yearbook of statistics which was revealed yesterday.

According to Formenti, Muslims make up 19.2% of the world's population, while Catholics make up 17.4%. If all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans, and Protestants, Christians make up 33% of the world's population.

The Vatican put the number of Roman Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion. And while there were no official statistics included for Muslims, it is generally estimated that they make up about 1.3 billion.

"For the first time in history we are no longer at the top. The Muslims have overtaken us," said Monsignor Formenti.

While the number of Catholics as a proportion of the population has remained fairly stable, the percentage of Muslims was growing due to higher birth rates.