Research Synthesis of National Survey Estimates of the U.S. Jewish Population

Publication Date: May 2006

Publisher: Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life; Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Author(s): David Livert; Leonard Saxe; Elizabeth Tighe

Research Area: Population and demographics; Social conditions

Keywords: Methodology; Population estimate; Census

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Current estimates of the size and characteristics Jewish population in the United States are problematic and provide an unreliable basis for understanding how the Jewish community is evolving. Data, most of which has historically been collected via telephone surveys sponsored by Jewish organizations, is increasingly expensive and difficult to collect. The present study describes a new approach to assessing the socio-demographic characteristics of the Jewish population, with the focus on synthesizing a broad range of data from surveys of nationally representative samples of the U.S. population. Although religion cannot be assessed by the U. S. census, many government-sponsored and other national surveys include assessment of religious or Jewish identity. This report describes our work to date to review and synthesize these multiple sources of data.