New research has revealed that the United States’ Jewish population is growing and, with 4.2 million adults self-identifying as Jewish, is 33 percent percent larger than previously estimated in the National Jewish Population Survey of 2000-2001.
Using what it calls “data synthesis” techniques that involve amassing data from hundreds of academic, government and privately funded surveys, the Steinhardt Social Research Institute of Brandeis University estimates that the total Jewish population of the U.S. is 6.8 million, the Institute said in its report.
“Socio-demographic studies of the U.S. population have, over the last several decades, painted a mostly negative portrait of American Jewry. The research suggests that, beset by assimilation pressures, declining identification and levels of engagement, the Jewish population is decreasing,” the study’s authors wrote. By contrast, its own findings “indicated that the U.S. Jewish population was substantially larger than previously estimated.”
Data synthesis techniques, according to the study’s authors, correct for a methodological problem in most Jewish-specific population studies, which try both to obtain a census and collect data on the nature of Jewish life. Trying to achieve both aims using one source of data is risky, according to the study.
Other key findings:
24 percent of Jewish adults are 65 years and older, compared with 18 percent in the general population.
52 percent of Jewish adults aged 65 and over are college graduates, versus with 24 percent of U.S. adults.
U.S. Jews are clustered mainly in six states, with 20 percent in New York and 14 percent in California.