India

While officially secular, India is one of the most publicly religious countries on the planet. Nearly 80% of the population is Hindu, and Hinduism has made the most evident and profound impact on the culture there. But India is extremely pluralistic, and its religious vibrancy – in all forms – is put on public view in vivid color.

Catholicism continues to be influenced by the many other religions that thrive there. Catholic life in India is especially oriented to devotional practice, in ways that draw from Hindu, Syrian, colonial Portuguese and contemporary Catholic practices. India is also home to two Eastern rite churches in full communion with the pope, the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara, who trace their origins to the Apostle Thomas. Read more about India here.

Introduction to India

While officially secular, India is one of the most publicly religious countries on the planet.

Jharkand and Uttar Pradesh

Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh are states in north-central India. Uttar Pradesh, home most famously to the Taj Mahal, is home to 241 million people.

Karnataka

Karnataka, in southwestern India, is home to more than 60 million people.

Kerala

Though a minority religion, Catholicism has ancient and deep roots in the southern Indian state of Kerala, home to more than 33 million people.

Meghalaya

Any attempt to describe Indian Catholic life in broad terms runs up against the genuine diversity of a country misperceived by many foreigners to be culturally and linguistically monolithic.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, “Tamil country,” a state in the south-easternmost part of India, is home to 72 million people whose native language is Tamil.

    Religious Affiliation
    Chart source: Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project, 2010
    Total Population
    1,354,051,854 1
    Urban
    34.0% 1
    Rural
    66.0% 1
    Immigrants as % of Population
    0.4% 2
    Homicides
    2.94 per 100,000 people (global median: 5.8) 3
    Level of Public Corruption
    39 (100 is very clean, 0 is highly corrupt) 4
    Gender Gap Ranking based on economy, health, education, and politics
    127 (146 is the lowest ranked country; 1 is the highest ranked country) 5
    Fertility Rate
    2.00 live births per woman 6
    Under-Five Mortality Rate
    31.00 deaths per 1,000 live births 6
    Life Expectancy at Birth
    67 years 6
    Adult Literacy Rate
    69.30% 6
    Male Youth Literacy Rate (15-24 years)
    93%
    Female Youth Literacy Rate (15-24 years)
    90%
    Internet Users
    46% 6
    GDP per Capita
    US$2,100 6
    Population Living Below US$2.15 per Day
    12.9% 6
    Religious Freedom: Government Restrictions Index (GRI)
    5.6 - High
    Religious Freedom: Social Hostilities Index (SHI)
    8.7 - Very High

    These statistics are derived from the Vatican's official publication, Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2020 (Vatican City: Librera Editrice Vaticana, 2022). The numbers may differ from data reported by other sources on this site.

    Baptized Catholics
    22,709,000
    Baptized Catholics as % of Total Population
    1.71
    Baptisms per Year (Under age 7)
    223,770
    Baptisms per Year (Over age 7)
    51,582
    First Communions per Year
    218,382
    Confirmations per Year
    213,542
    Students Enrolled in Catholic Primary Schools
    4,762,270
    Students Enrolled in Catholic Secondary Schools
    4,031,412
    Students Enrolled in Catholic Higher Education
    883,828
    Church Marriages per Year
    108,237
    Church Marriages in Which Both Spouses are Catholics
    100,942
    Priests
    33,048
    Women Religious (Nuns & Sisters)
    99,505
    Catholics per Priest
    687
    Parishes
    11,179
    Mission Stations (no resident priests)
    16,897
    Catholic Hospitals
    752
    Homes for Aged, Handicapped, Invalids
    1,195

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