Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

American Jewish Population Estimates: 2012

Elizabeth Tighe, Leonard Saxe, Raquel Magidin de Kramer, Daniel Parmer

September 2013

American Jewish Population Estimates 2012 coverIn an effort to develop reliable estimates of the size and characteristics of the American Jewish population, the SSRI has used a data synthesis approach to yield estimates of the proportion of U.S. adults who claim Judaism as their religion, the number of secular/cultural Jews (i.e., Jews who identify other than by religion), and the number of children. The accumulated evidence indicates that the U.S. Jewish population is substantially larger than previously estimated.

Among the Findings

There are an estimated 6.8 million Jewish adults and children in the United States.

  • 4.2 million adults self-identify as Jewish when asked about their religion
  • Nearly 1 million adults consider themselves Jewish by background and other criteria
  • There are an estimated 1.6 million Jewish children

The U.S. Jewish population is concentrated in a few number of states and metropolitan areas.

  • Over 60% of American Jews live in just six states. Slightly over 20% resides in New York State, 14% in California, followed by 12% in Florida; 8% in New Jersey; and 5% each in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. 
  • The largest percentage reside in New York City (13%), Southern Florida (8.6%), New York suburban areas (7%), Los Angeles area (7%). 
  • Additional centers include the region around Boston, Northern New Jersey, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington DC and suburbs

Among adults who self-identify as Jewish by religion:

  • Just over 1 million (24%) are aged 65 years and older
  • They are more than twice as likely as other Americans to be college graduates

Read Technical Appendices

View the Interactive Map