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The Demographic Impact of the Holocaust on the Jewish People

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Publication Date: January 1991

Publisher(s): Institute of Contemporary Jewry

Author(s): Uriel O. Schmelz

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Population and demographics (Demography and census)

Keywords: Demography; Holocaust

Type: Report


In the decades prior to the Holocaust, East European Jewry was undergoing a rapid transition from comparatively traditional to modern patterns. Concentration in larger cities and the level of secular education increased, and notable occupational shifts occurred. Mortality among the Jews continued to decline rapidly, boosting their natural increase up to a certain stage, although this increase slowed down later owing to the accelerated decline in fertility and the birth rate. The Holocaust reduced the number of European Jews by about two thirds and World Jewry by about one third, affecting notably the previous trends by changes of spatial distributions and changes in age-sex distribution.

In Division of Jewish Demography and Statistics Occasional Paper No. 1991-10. 22 p. Institute of Contemporary Jewry.