Newly Released Data Shows 6.5m American Jews

Speaking at the World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem yesterday, Prof. Lenoard Saxe (Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Brandeis University) laid out the case for the U.S. Jewish population being pegged at 6.5 million in 2012 and a projection breaking the 7 million mark in five years.

Total U.S. Jewish Population
1990 – 2020 Estimates

Saxe US Jewish population
In explaining the numbers, Saxe stated the team utilized data from:

Meta-analysis of high quality surveys:

  • Analysis focuses on standard questions on religious identification (of adults)
  • 500+ surveys over 20 years (1990 – present)
  • Surveys conducted/sponsored by government and non-Jewish organizations

Jewish focused surveys

  • Identify secular/cultural Jews, as well as “Jews by religion”
  • Assess attitudes and specific behavior patterns
  • Jewish community surveys

Census of Jewish Education (Jdata)

  • Enrollment in day schools, summer camps, etc.
  • Facilitates estimates of children

In a follow-up question, Hebrew University Prof Sergio DellaPergola pretty much discounted Saxe’s numbers claiming that with Israel’s birthrate what it is, it would be impossible for the U.S. to have a greater Jewish population than Israel.