Demographers Differ on New York Survey Numbers

from The Jewish Week:

Leading Demographer Questioning N.Y. Population Survey

In the first public criticism of the newly released “Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011,” a leading demographer is raising questions about the report’s methodology and data, as well as the validity of its findings.

Len Saxe, director of the Steinhardt Social Research Institute and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, says that while he agrees with the findings that show the Jewish population of New York has increased, he believes much of the overall picture is inaccurate. He claims that the study overestimates the Orthodox numbers and underestimates the non-Orthodox.

… The widely reported findings set off a number of communal and media responses that voiced concern with the direction of a community that appears to be moving increasingly Orthodox in one direction and secular in the other direction, with the center falling out.

But if Saxe’s analysis is correct, the numbers of Orthodox could be significantly less than the 493,000 claimed in the survey. And the non-Orthodox population could be significantly larger than the study reports.