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).
- 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.
- 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 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.