A new study’s findings on the Jewish demographic(s) in New York City is challenging some long-held assumptions/notions regarding… Jews in New York.
“The study… challenges the entrenched image of Jews as liberal, affluent and well educated. Over the last decade wealthy, Ivy League graduates like those on the Upper West Side have increasingly lost population share relative to Orthodox groups, like the Hasidic population in Brooklyn, where college degrees are rare and poverty rates have reached 43 percent.” (NYTimes)
Some fun frum and not-so-frum facts:
- After a decline, it seems Jews are on the upswing, and (not shockingly) the numbers hike is attributed to the Orthodox/Ultra-Orthodox populations.
- New York area’s Jewish population is (still) the largest outside of Israel. One-third of the entire American Jewish population is located in that area.
- The numbers: 40% of NYC Jews identify as Orthodox, up from 33% a decade ago. 74% of NYC Jewish children are Orthodox.
- The less observant are becoming even more less observant. The Conservative and Reform counts are in decline.
- Unsurprisingly, the Orthodox communities tend to lean to the right on political issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and how Israel handles Palestinians.
- 316,000 Jews on Long Island and 136,000 in Westchester. Combining the eight counties makes for 1.54 million Jews, up 10% from 10 years ago.
- Less affiliated Jewish children are less likely to be attending any sort of Jewish structure, while at the same time, overall, more local Jewish kids are going to Hebrew day schools or yeshivas. About 50% of Jews ages 18 to 34 in the area had gone to those types of schools, whereas it was only 16% of their parents/ages 55 to 69.
- Intermarriage is hanging tight at 22%, but has increased specifically in the less affiliated.
- 12% of Jewish households include a non-white person, often from adoption or intermarriage.
Nothing about this is shocking. It makes me a bit worried though. I didn’t ‘flee’ New York per say, but I’ve had trouble understanding how modern Orthodoxy can sustain itself in this type of environment. As people get pulled to the left and right, to the unaffiliated to the fundamentally affiliated, what’s left for those of us who want to practice traditional Jewish lives?