In the UK: A Tale of Two Jewish Populations

As part of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research’s (JPR) work on the 2011 UK Census data, their third report, focusing on age and sex by religion, is now available. According to JPR, this data can be used to track changes amongst the elderly population, which is critical for welfare organisations, and to chart birth rates, which is vital for assessing future educational needs. Most importantly, age and sex data can be used to make population projections and help Jewish community organisations plan for the future.

Dr Jonathan Boyd, Executive Director of JPR, explains,

“These new data show that there has been a significant increase in the number of young Jewish people in Britain over the past ten years: there are 9,000 more Jewish people aged under 20 in 2011 than there were in 2001. Given that the community has been demographically declining since the 1950s, this is an extraordinary turnaround.”

“Using a novel approach to the data analysis, we can see that the main engine of this growth is in areas where the Jewish population is predominantly haredi. Indeed, at least 84% of the growth in the under 20s is haredi. ”

“In fact, there are two distinct Jewish populations in Britain: haredim, with a median age of 27, who are bucking the commonly-accepted narrative of Jewish demographic decline, and the far larger remainder, with a median age of 44, who are, in all likelihood, conforming to it.”

“Looking ahead, the very different demographic profiles of the two populations are likely to have profound implications in the future for communal services, community representation, and inter-denominational relations.”

“There is not a single Jewish organisation in this country that cannot benefit from utilising the 2011 Census data – the figures tell us more about the Jewish population in Britain than any other source. Indeed, if we care about the future of British Jewish life, we should be squeezing every last detail out of this dataset.”

To read the new report in full, please click here.