Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

2018 South Palm Beach County Jewish Community Study

Matthew Boxer, Matthew Brookner, Janet Krasner Aronson, and Leonard Saxe

October 2018

South Palm Beach report coverConducted on behalf of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, the 2018 South Palm Beach County Jewish Community Study was developed to help communal leaders, planners, and residents better understand the size and character of their community. Interviews with over 2,100 Jewish households residing in South Palm Beach County form the basis of the report.

Download comparison charts (.xlsx)

Download public use dataset (.zip)

Among the Findings

  • The Jewish population of South Palm Beach County consists of 134,200 adults and children living in 69,000 households.

  • The community still has a significant population of retirees and senior citizens (ages 65 and up) but is getting younger and includes more families than it did in 2005.

  • Seasonal residents comprise 20% of the South Palm Beach County adult Jewish population.

  • The plurality of the Jewish community lives in Central Boca Raton and in Delray Beach.

  • Two thirds of Jewish adults in South Palm Beach County are married. Among married Jewish individuals, the intermarriage rate is 16%, one of the lowest rates in the country.

  • Overall, 80% of children are being raised Jewish in some way; 34% of Jewish students in grades K-12 participated in some form of Jewish education in the past year.

  • Twenty percent of Jewish households belong to a Jewish congregation in South Palm Beach County, and another 11% belong to a congregation outside the area.

  • One third of Jewish households belong or pay dues to a Jewish organization in South Palm Beach County that is not a synagogue or the Levis JCC; more than one third of the Jewish community attended a program sponsored by a South Palm Beach County Jewish organization in the past year.

  • Thirty-six percent of Jewish adults engaged in some volunteer activity in the past month, with either a Jewish or non-Jewish organization.

  • Eighty-two percent of Jewish adults made charitable donations in the past year, with 63% giving to Jewish organizations and 36% giving to Jewish organizations that primarily serve the South Palm Beach County Jewish community.

  • Ninety-one percent of Jewish adults feel a connection to Israel. More than two thirds, 69%, of Jewish adults have been to Israel at least once. This figure is higher than the national average of 43%.

  • While there is affluence within the South Palm Beach County Jewish community, there is also financial vulnerability. Seven percent of Jewish households say they were constrained from participating in Jewish life in the past year due to financial issues. Nineteen percent of households say they are just getting along, nearly poor or poor.

  • Twenty-eight percent of Jewish households include at least one person who has some sort of health issue, special need or disability.

Members of the South Palm Beach Jewish community can be thought of as having one of five patterns of Jewish engagement. These groupings provide a deeper way to understand Jewish engagement aside from denominational affiliation and ritual behavior.

Index of Jewish Engagement

South Palm Beach County engagement groups