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American Jewish Population Project

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Director's Letter

September 22, 2016

Len SaxeDear Friends,

As we approach the Jewish New Year, I am pleased to announce the release of our latest US Jewish population estimates. The new estimates, an ongoing project of the Steinhardt Social Research Institute, are based on a vastly expanded survey database and reflect adjustments to the 2015 census data. In addition, the American Jewish Population Project website has been redesigned. The population maps are even easier to use and provide more information about county and state population groups. Also included is demographic information regarding gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity.

For the first time, we also include estimates of political party affiliation and political views among Jewish adults in the United States. These political data offer timely and valuable perspective of the political leanings of the Jewish electorate in unprecedented geographic detail. 

Our new estimate of the American Jewish population (2015) is 7.16 million adults and children. The proportion of adult “Jews by Religion” has remained consistent at approximately 1.8 percent of the US population (which means that it is increasing at the same rate of the overall population). The 2015 population data feature model-based estimates for adult Jews by religion. In addition, using supplemental sources of data, it provides adjusted estimates for Jewish children and other Jewish adults. The estimates are based on more than 250 independent samples of the US adult population collected between 2008 and 2015. These data come from more than 280,000 respondents, of whom over 6,100 identify as Jewish when asked a standard question about religious identification.

I would like to congratulate the Steinhardt Social Research Institute team responsible for generating these estimates. An extraordinary amount of work goes into developing these estimates and cross-checking them with other sources. Headed by Dr. Elizabeth Tighe, the team includes senior researchers Daniel Parmer and Raquel Magidin de Kramer. I encourage you to explore the interactive website and contact us with any questions or comments about how we might make this information even more useful.

Wishing you a peaceful and sweet 5777,

Leonard Saxe

Director, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University