Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

2019 Howard County Jewish Community Study

Matthew Boxer, Matthew A. Brookner, Eliana Chapman, Harry Aaronson, Daniel Mangoubi, Janet Krasner Aronson, and Leonard Saxe

March 2020

Howard County Jewish Community Study

The 2019 Howard County Jewish Community Study provides valid data about the 9,100 Jewish households in Howard County, Maryland, that can be used by communal organizations and their leadership to design programs and policies that support and enhance Jewish life. The study describes community members’ participation in Jewish communal life, their private Jewish activities and their attitudes about Judaism and Israel.

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Download comparison charts (Excel)

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Key Findings

  • As of 2019, the Howard County Jewish community is comprised of 9,100 households.

  • These households include 18,700 Jewish individuals, of whom 14,900 are adults and 3,900 are children ages 17 and younger. In addition, there are 5,100 non-Jewish adults and 1,000 non-Jewish children living in households with a Jewish individual.

  • Thirty-two percent of Howard County’s Jewish households include a child under the age of 18, and another 29% of households are comprised of a married or partnered couple who do not live with children.

  • Only 9% of Jewish adults were raised in the Howard County or Baltimore area. Of the 91% who were not raised in the area, 45% have been in Howard County for at least 20 years.

  • Among the 4,900 minor children in Howard County’s Jewish households, 3,900, or 79%, are being raised Jewish in some way.

  • About one quarter of Jewish households in Howard County, 24%, belong to a Jewish congregation or prayer community of some type. This includes synagogues, Chabad, and independent minyans.

  • Nearly two thirds, 65%, of Jewish adults attended services at least once in the past year, and 14% attended services at least monthly. High Holiday services were attended by 39% of Jewish adults.

  • Thirty six percent of Jewish adults attended at least one Jewish-sponsored program, activity, or class in Howard County. Twenty-four percent participated in activities at the Jewish Federation of Howard County, 14% were involved in a program at the JCC of Greater Baltimore, and 9% attended a local Chabad program or service.

  • Forty-two percent of Howard County’s Jewish adults have been to Israel at least once, including 4% who have lived there.

  • Nine percent of the community describe themselves as “prosperous” and just over one third (34%) say they are “living very comfortably” (Table 8.1). Those who say they are “living reasonably comfortably” make up 49% of Jewish households. But 8% say they are “just getting along,” a possible indication of economic vulnerability, and less than 1% say they are “nearly poor.”

  • Ten percent of Jewish households in Howard County include at least one person who is limited in working or attending school by some sort of health issue, special need or disability.

Index of Jewish Engagement

Howard County Engagement Index