NYC Jewish population growing again, comprehensive study shows

(JTA) — New York City’s Jewish population is growing, in large part due to its Orthodox community, a comprehensive study has found.

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There are 1.54 million Jews living in 694,000 Jewish households, an increase of 9 percent between 2002 and 2011, according to the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011. The figures in the study, released Tuesday morning, give New York the largest Jewish population anywhere outside of Israel.

The study, sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, was conducted from Feb. 8, 2011, to July 10, 2011, by Jewish Policy & Action Research, led by Dr. Steven Cohen. Some 5,993 self-identifying Jewish adults from New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties were interviewed by telephone. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus two percent.  

The study found that 40 percent of the city’s Jews are Orthodox, up from 33 percent in the last study in 2002. These Orthodox households are home to 64 percent of all Jewish children in the New York area.  Poverty also affects some 43 percent of Chasidic Orthodox households. 

The total number of Jewish children and young adults under the age of 25 has grown by 66,000 since 2002. Meanwhile, the number of Jewish senior citizens has also grown since 2002, with 45,000 more Jews age 75 and over.

According to the study, more than half a million people live in 361,000 poor and near-poor Jewish households; Poverty affects 71 percent of Russian speakers with a senior in the household, 43 percent of Hasidic households, 28 percent of seniors living alone, and 24 percent of single-parent households. 

On the subject of Jewish engagement, the number of Orthodox and nondenominational Jews each increased by more than 100,000 over the past decade, while the number of Conservative and Reform Jews each decreased by about 40,000. Twenty-two percent of all married couples are intermarried, and some 40 percent of all non-Orthodox married couples. Of the non-Orthodox couples married in the last five years, 50 percent are intermarried. 

Meanwhile, according to the study, half of those ages 18 to 34 attended Jewish day school, compared with 16 percent of those ages 55 to 69; while some 60 percent of those ages 18 to 34 went to Jewish overnight camp, compared with just 37perecent of those ages 55 to 69.

The 2002 study had found New York City’s Jewish population had fallen below 1 million for the first time in a century; the population peaked at two million in the 1950s, according to the New York Times.

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