UJA-Federation of New York

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Jewish Community Study Fast Facts

These facts are from the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011, conducted from February 8, 2011, to July 10, 2011, sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York and conducted by Jewish Policy & Action Research (JPAR). Read the complete report (PDF).

Population Estimates

  • In the eight-county New York area, 1.77 million people (1.54 million Jews) live in 694,000 Jewish households.
  • The Jewish population increased by 126,000 Jews (9%) between 2002 and 2011.
  • Of all households in the area, 1 in 6 is a Jewish household.
  • Brooklyn is home to 561,000 Jews, or 36% of all Jewish people in the area; it is the county with the largest increase in Jewish population since 2002 (105,000).
  • More Jews live in the eight-county New York area than in the combined Jewish populations of the metropolitan areas of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Demography

  • The number of Jewish children and young adults under age 25 has grown by 66,000 since 2002.
  • The number of Jewish seniors has grown since 2002, with 45,000 more Jews ages 75 and over in comparison with 2002.
  • Immigration in the Jewish community has subsided considerably since the 1990s.

People in Need and Access to Support

  • The number of poor Jewish households grew substantially, reaching 130,000 (up from 103,000 in 2002); the number of people in poor Jewish households rose by nearly 120,000, to 361,000.
  • More than half a million people live in poor and near-poor Jewish households.
  • Across the area, 20% of people in Jewish households are poor; in New York City alone, 1 in 4 people in Jewish households is poor.
  • Poverty affects 71% of Russian speakers with a senior in the household, 43% of Hasidic households, 28% percent of seniors living alone, and 24% of single-parent households. 
  • At least 294,000 people in Jewish households draw on such public-assistance programs as food stamps, Medicaid, and public housing.

Jewish Engagement and Connections

  • More than half of all Jews feel that being Jewish is very important, give to Jewish charity, attend a Passover seder, light Chanukah candles, fast on Yom Kippur, and report that their closest friends are mostly Jewish.
  • Both ends of the denominational spectrum have grown dramatically: the number of Orthodox and nondenominational Jews each increased by more than 100,000 over the past decade.
  • The number of Conservative and Reform Jews each decreased by about 40,000 over the past decade; Conservative and Reform Jews who belong to a congregation are much more highly engaged than whose who identify with these denominations but do not belong to a congregation.
  • The intermarriage rate has been stable overall — 22% for all married couples, and 2 in 5 non-Orthodox married couples — but it is increasing among non-Orthodox couples married within the last five years (50%).
  • Overall, measures of Jewish engagement are lower than they were a decade ago among Jews who are not Orthodox.

Jewish Families and Jewish Education

  • Intensification of Jewish education is deepening for most of the community: nearly half of those ages 18 to 34 went to day school, compared with just 16% of those ages 55 to 69; and fully 60% of those ages 18 to 34 went to Jewish overnight camp, compared with just 37% of those ages 55 to 69.
  • In contrast, levels of Jewish education have been low and falling for the nondenominational population: 54% of nondenominational and secular respondents ages 55 to 69 received no Jewish education whatsoever, compared with 70% of those ages 18 to 34.
  • Of 405,000 children in Jewish households, only 12% live in intermarried households &mdash an 18% decrease from 2002.
  • Less than a third (31%) of intermarried couples are raising their children as exclusively Jewish; of the 46% of children in intermarried households being raised “not Jewish,” about a third are being raised in another religion, with the remainder in no religion; another 13% are “undecided.”

Philanthropic Giving

  • Philanthropic giving has declined slightly since 2002: in 2011, 83% of Jewish households reported charitable donations, compared with 88% in 2002.

  • Of those earning $250,000 or more, 97% report philanthropic giving, but a quarter make no gifts to a Jewish cause.

  • Jews under 50, excluding the Orthodox, are less likely than those over 50 to give to Jewish causes; giving to Jewish causes drops from 66% of those ages 75 and over to 31% of those under 35.

Diverse Jewish Communities

  • Orthodox Jews and Russian-speaking Jews together comprise more than 40% of all Jews in the eight-county New York area.

  • Of all Jewish households, 12% are biracial, Hispanic, or nonwhite.

  • Other diverse groups that are significant in size include Israelis (121,000 Jews), Jews in LGBT households (50,000 Jews), and the Syrian Jewish community (38,000 Jews).

  • Orthodox households are home to 64% of all Jewish children in the eight-county New York area.

  • Haredi (Hasidic and Yeshivish) birthrates are more than three times as high as non-Orthodox birthrates.