The following was published by the Catholic Bishops' Committee of Korea for the Pastoral Care of Koreans Living Abroad, on Feb. 17, 2011.
According to the statistics, as of December 2010, the number of overseas Korean Catholics is 161,390, an increase of 2% (3,365) over the last year.
The statistics indicate that the number of priests sent to the Third World countries showed a drastic increase over the last year. In 2010, 330 priests were sent abroad, an increase of 80 over the previous year. While pastoral care of overseas Koreans has been the main reason of sending priests abroad traditionally, the statistics show that the number of priests sent for the missionary work in the Third World countries is growing these days.
Another noticeable phenomenon is the growth of Korean Catholic communities in Asia. The rate of increase in recent 3 years of overseas Korean Catholics in Asia is 15.4%, the highest number of all 6 continents. The number of overseas parishes for Koreans is 44, an increase of 4 over the previous year. In 2010, the number of Korean Catholics in Chinese underground churches were excluded. If they were counted in, the rate of increase would be about 20%.
The diocese which sent the highest numbers of priests is the Diocese of Pusan (26 priests in 9 countries), followed by the Diocese of Daejeon (24 priests in 6 countries) and the Diocese of Daegu (21 priests in 8 countries). Among the religious communities, Sisters of the Blessed Korean Martyrs sent abroad the largest number of Korean pastoral workers (38 sisters in 6 countries), followed by Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (35 sisters in 6 countries) and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (33 sisters in 17 countries).
There are 116,211 Catholics in North America accounting for 72% of the total overseas Korean Catholics. Then, there are 18,892 in Oceania, 10,725 in Asia, 8,479 in South America, 6,604 in Europe and 380 in Africa. Most overseas Korean Catholics are in the United States (91,141), followed by Canada (24,707), and Australia (13,922). Overseas Korean Catholics in Asia are mainly in three countries: Indonesia (2,126), the Philippines (1,395) and Vietnam (1,097).
According to the statistics of overseas Koreans published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, the overseas Korean Catholics are presumed as 2.4% of the total number of overseas Koreans (6,822,606).