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NJPS: Education, Employment and Income

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Relative to the total U.S. population, Jews are more highly educated, have more prestigious jobs and earn higher household incomes. The educational success and socio-economic status of Jews constitute a significant source of strength for the community and its organizations, with positive implications for charitable resources, cultural sophistication and influence in the public sphere.

More than half of all Jewish adults (55%) have received a college degree, and a quarter (25%) have earned a graduate degree. The comparable figures for the total U.S. population are 29% and 6%. Jewish men are more likely than Jewish women to have college degrees (61% vs. 50%) and graduate degrees (29% vs. 21%).

Proportionally, slightly fewer adult Jews are currently employed (61%) than in the total U.S. population (65%), reflecting the older Jewish population. More than 60% of all employed Jews are in one of the three highest status job categories: professional/technical (41%), management and executive (13%), and business and finance (7%). In contrast, 46% of all Americans work in these three high status areas, including 29% in professional/technical jobs, 12% in management and executive positions, and 5% in business and finance.

The distribution of household income among Jews, especially at the high end of the income scale, reflects their relatively high education levels and high status jobs. More than one-third of Jewish households (34%) report income over $75,000, compared to 17% of all U.S. households. Proportionally fewer Jewish households (22%) than total U.S. households (28%) report household income under $25,000. The current median income of Jewish households is $54,000, 29% higher than the median U.S. household income of $42,000. In 1990, the median income of Jewish households was $39,000, 34% higher than the median income of $29,000 for all U.S. households.

[3] Data on education, employment, occupation and income for the total U.S. population come from the combined, weighted sample of respondents to NJPS and the National Survey of Religion and Ethnicity (NSRE). For more information on the NSRE, see the Methodological Appendix.

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