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NJPS: The Jewish Population

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The total Jewish population in the United States is estimated at 5.2 million people (see Table 1), including survey estimates of 4.1 million adults and 1 million children in households, as well as additional estimates of 100,000 Jews in institutional settings who were not sampled as part of NJPS.

For purposes of this report, a Jew is defined as a person:

  • Whose religion is Jewish, or
  • Whose religion is Jewish and something else, or
  • Who has no religion and has at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing, or
  • Who has a non-monotheistic religion, and has at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing.

This definition is very similar to the definition used in the 1990 NJPS, which estimated a total Jewish population of 5.5 million people, including survey estimates of 5.4 million people in households and an additional 100,000 Jews in institutional settings who were not sampled.

In NJPS 2000-01, the population with stronger Jewish connections -- represented by respondents who answered the long-form questionnaire -- consists of 4.3 million people, including over 3.3 million adults and more than 900,000 children. In the remainder of this report, findings about the Jewish population of 4.3 million are noted by an asterisk (*) following a specific topic or by a footnote. Otherwise, findings in this report apply to the total Jewish population of 5.2 million people.

(For information on why NJPS 2000-01 may have undercounted the Jewish population, see the Methodological Appendix).

Table 1.  Jewish population and household estimates.

 

 

2000-01

1990

Total Jewish population

5.2 million

5.5 million

Total Jewish households

2.9 million

2.7 million

Jews per Jewish household

1.8

2.0

People per Jewish household

2.3

2.4

Total people in Jewish households

6.7 million

6.6 million

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