California's Catholic population is growing by more than 13 percent each year, and by 2025 Catholics will make up more than one-third of the state’s population, according to a 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.
The Catholic population is projected to grow at a rate more than three times the 4 percent rate increase by California's non-Catholic population.
Catholics will represent nearly 60 percent of California's projected population growth in the next 20 years, according to the study.
"We are truly blessed that the Catholic Church in California is vibrant and growing, but our future should not happen by accident." said Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., 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."
By 2025, 4.3 million new Catholics will be baptized, more than 3.1 million children will celebrate their first Communion and the average parish will have expanded by more than 1,800 families.
Of the state's projected total Catholic population increase of 5.6 million, 3.5 million is expected from the natural increase of number of births over 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.