The Changing Population Profile of American Jews: 1990-2008

By Barry A. Kosmin

World Union of Jewish Studies, August 2009

The author presents data from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) Time Series, which tracks changes in the religious loyalties of the American public. He looks at the three surveys which replicate the methodology of the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey. These surveys contain large nationally representative sub-samples of self-identified Jewish respondents which then form a weighted national Jewish data set. The author finds that though the total Jewish population is relatively stable in size, disaffection from Judaism and intermarriage have combined to change the identity profile of American Jewry in the past 20 years. Fewer American Jews self-identify on the basis of religion and fewer have two Jewish parents or four Jewish grandparents; the total population of all ages adhering to any type of Judaism is around 3.3 – 3.4 million people; only a minority of the population that self-identifies as Jewish on the basis of religion is Orthodox (c. 25%); the adult Jewish by Religion population (JBR) seems to be declining currently by around 22,000 persons a year.


Topic: Jewish Identification, Survey, Demography, Population Estimate

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Genre: Conference Presentation

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

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Bibliographic Information:
Kosmin, Barry A. The Changing Population Profile of American Jews: 1990-2008. World Union of Jewish Studies. August 2009:


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