Word counts in papal documents

Word counts include the text of the papal encyclical, and any citations at the end of the document. All data are in Excel. Contact me if you’d like to know more, or you see a mistake!

Each graph tells a very different story, so they should be considered contextually. Pope John XXIII, for example, has the lowest number of total paragraphs, but the second highest average number of paragraphs.

The longer the reign, the more words they wrote – but contrasting the total numbers with average numbers can reveal surprises. Pope Leo XIII, to take another example, has the lowest average paragraph and average word counts, but one of the highest total paragraph and total word counts.

average paragraph count

average word count

total paragraph count

total word count

average words per paragraph

total word count by year.png