Jewish Life
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Jewish Life > NJPS: Demography: Age Structure
NJPS: Age Structure

NJPS Home ---> NJPS Report ---> Demography --->

Age Structure of the Jewish Population -Download NJPS Report PDF

-Download PowerPoint Summary

The American Jewish population is older than the Jewish population ten years ago and the total U.S. population now (see Table 2). The median age of the Jewish population is currently 42, five years older than the median Jewish age in 1990 and seven years older than the overall median age for the U.S. population. [1] The proportion of children in the Jewish population stands at 20%, compared to 21% 10 years ago and 26% for the total U.S. population now. At the other end of the age spectrum, 19% of Jews are elderly, defined as 65 years of age or older, compared to 17% in 1990 and 12% for today's total U.S. population.

Table 2.  Age distribution of Jewish and U.S. populations, 2000-01.

 

Age

Jewish

U.S.

0-9

     10%

14%

10-19

13

14

20-29

14

14

30-39

12

15

40-49

15

15

50-59

14

11

60-69

9

7

70-79

10

6

80 and over

4

3

Median age

42

35

The aging of the Jewish population is likely due to several reasons, including low fertility, longer life expectancy, and the movement of large numbers of baby boomers born during the 1940s and 1950s into older age groups. Increasing social assimilation among those in younger age groups may join these demographic explanations. The Jewish population will probably continue to age in the years to come, creating challenges and opportunities for the Jewish communal system.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, data on the total U.S. population come from the 2000 U.S. Census or other U.S. Census Bureau studies. Jews are included in Census data on the total U.S. population, but Jews cannot be identified in Census data because the Census Bureau does not ask about religion or include Jews as an ethnic group.

Next page: Marriage and Fertility