Vatican City population over years

Vatican City Population Over the Years – Citizens & Army Population

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The Vatican City is a bit of a weird one. I mean how is it a country? Are “normal” people allowed to live there, or just the Pope and a few Bishops? Are there nuns? Can anyone be born there? How many people live in the Vatican? Gee, this introduction is more like our Frequently Asked Questions section…

Let’s jump to it and help you find out all you need to know about the Vatican Population.

Vatican City Population History

The Vatican City is a City State which became independent from Rome with the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929. Since then, there has been a permanent population of the independent entity.

It’s a little tiny place – smaller than Monaco and Gibraltar – at just over 121 acres. The population is below 1000 people. Since the mid 14th Century, the Popes have mostly lived within the city accompanied by their support staff.

The population in Vatican City today

Vatican male & female population today

The Vatican City population 2020 was pretty similar to the Vatican City population in 2019.There are just over 800 people counted as citizens of the Vatican city. But, half of them live elsewhere. So the physical population is very small. Around 400 people live in the city, and over 400 live abroad in the diplomatic service.

A mix of cardinals and diplomats make up the bulk of the population. 130 Swiss Guards provide additional support, as do additional lay people. Citizenship is not granted to this city state by birth, but by employment status.

How many people per square mile are there?

Actually, per square mile, the population is pretty dense. Even though there are less than 1000 people, per square mile there would be almost 5000 people. This ranks the Vatican City 6th in the world for population density!

Female population of Vatican City

It is currently thought that around 30 women hold Vatican Citizenship. The population is around 5% female. Some of that population is made up of women who are married to the prestigious Swiss Guards.

Women can’t vote here, as the only elections are for the selection of the Pope, which is done by cardinals. For the majority of women here – a few teachers, journalists and wives – their citizenship lasts only for the length of time they live there.

Recent Popes have tried to improve the position of women in the Vatican, with a pledge to bring more women into more senior roles.

Vatican City Army Population

Vatican City army population

The Vatican City has no army. It is a neutral state, and if there were to be the need for protection it is likely the Italian Armed Forces would support. The closest thing the Vatican City has to an armed force is the Swiss Guard.

They provide largely ceremonial duties, however the men in the Swiss Guard are actually trained Swiss Army officers.

There are currently around 130 Swiss Guards in the Vatican City, plus any wives and families.

3 Things you CAN’T do in Vatican City

  1. Wear a miniskirt, or short shorts, bare shoulders etc. That too goes for men. There is a dress code applicable in the Vatican City which also extends to those living there.
  2. No smoking, anywhere, even outside
  3. As citizenship is determined by your job, the Vatican City is exclusively Catholic, so you can’t be any other religion.

Frequently asked Questions

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Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we receive about the population in Vatican City.

What is the population of the Vatican City?

The population of the Vatican City is around 800 people, and predicted to be fairly stable.

Why is the population of the Vatican City so low?

Firstly, it’s a really tiny country. Secondly, no one is born in the Vatican city, nor is citizenship conferred through birth.

Which nation has the second smallest population after Vatican City?

The Republic of Nauru, a small island in the Pacific, is the next smallest country, with around 10,000 people.

Are there any Muslims in the Vatican City?

Citizens of the Vatican City are likely to be Catholic, given that they are either in the Swiss Guard or members of the clergy. A number of Muslim diplomats do however have diplomatic residence status within the Vatican City.


The Vatican City population story is pretty interesting. But it is not as interesting as the actual sights to be seen within the Vatican. From the treasures of the Vatican Museum to St Peter’s Basilica, the Necropolis to the beautiful St Peter’s Square.

Check out the full Vatican City Guide here to plan your trip! Don’t forget to let us know what you did during your visit to Rome and the Vatican.

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