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Four Questions about American Jewish Demography

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Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher(s): Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Ira M. Sheskin

Series: Jewish Political Studies Review 20:1-2 (Spring 2008)

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Population and demographics (Demography and census)

Keywords: Jewish Identification; Demography; Population Estimate; Academic Research

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The author answers four questions about American Jewish demography: How many Jews live in the United States? Is the number increasing or decreasing? Do more Jews live in Israel or in the United States? And do the answers to these questions matter? The author contends that the controversy surrounding these issues stems from the existence of various definitions of Jewish identity as well as the methodological difficulties involved in estimating Jewish populations. He argues that whether the American Jewish population is increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same is not totally clear, though it will almost certainly decrease in the future. The author concludes that the number of Jews in the United States is higher than the number in Israel, yet this is also likely to change in the future.