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Metropolitan Atlanta Jewish Population Study, 1984

Sponsor(s): Atlanta Jewish Federation, Atlanta Jewish Federation Endowment Fund, Harriet Zimmerman Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta

Principal Investigator(s): Jay Weinstein

Study Dates: July, 1983-November, 1984

Population Estimates: 59,100 Jewish persons lived in 26,200 Jewish households as of January, 1984. A total of 66,900 people lived in these households, including 7,800 non-Jews (12% of all people in Jewish households).
Key Findings: The 1984 Report summarizes findings from the 1983-84 study, but also compares those results to the 1945-46 study reported upon in 1947.
  • In 1945, 9,600 Jewish persons lived in the City of Atlanta, and the five surrounding counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett and Clayton: 1.5% of all people in the area. In 1984, Jews represented 3.2% of the five county population.

  • In 1945, virtually the entire Jewish population lived in the Atlanta City limits, while in 1984, over 70% of the Jewish community lived outside the City of Atlanta limits.

  • In 1945-47, 90% of the Jewish households were on mailing lists of Jewish organizations, while in 1984, only 44% of the estimated Jewish households were on Jewish lists.

  • In 1984, approximately 17% of principal wage earners and spouses were born in Atlanta, reflecting recent growth.

  • In 1984, 25% of the Jewish population was under the age of 18, with 9% 65 or older(13% 60 or older).

  • Among “principal wage earners,” 42% identified as Conservative Jews, 37% Reform, 5% Orthodox, 3% No Denominational identification, and 12% “other.”

  • Traditional Jewish practices: participation in a Passover Seder: “always” 69%, lighting Chanukah candles always 61%, always fasting on Yom Kippur 53%, lighting Shabbat candles always 18%, and observing dietary laws all the time 10%.

  • Service utilization and assessment of importance are described in detail in the report: “The pattern of use revealed here contrasts sharply with the perceived importance of the services….the less-needy majority use Jewish services for leisure-time pursuits — while they consider the services they actually use least (those for the more-needy minority) to have the highest communal priority.” (page 16-17 report, pages 33-34 of the PDF).

  • Report concludes with assessment that Jewish Atlanta is experiencing three interrelated demographic trends: (1) population growth, (2) population growth in newer neighborhoods and decline in older Jewish residential areas, and (3) outward expansion of the Jewish community north, northeast and northwest.
Sample: Adult Jewish Households in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. Geographic areas included: the City of Atlanta, and five "surrounding" counties: Dekalb, Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Clayton.
Sample Notes: Reports indicate that the statistical data summarized in the Main Report and the Summary Report were based on responses to over 5,000 questionnaires and several hundred telephone interviews.

Survey methodology, estimation and weighting procedures are described in detail at the end of the “Main Report”.

Three sampling strata were used: Stratum I was a 1/20 random sample with a systematic start of all households on a combined Jewish organizational list; Stratum II: a random sample of households on a “snowball” sample based on responses to the Stratum I surveys; Stratum III: a random digit dialed telephone survey of phone numbers not on the Jewish organization list. Report provides details on number of calls, etc.

Study Notes: The Data File for Atlanta 1983 (and a printout of frequencies based on this data file) have been removed from the public portion of the Data Bank website as of June, 2007.

First, the data file is extremely “dirty,” with almost every variable having “incorrect punches” which are not correctable at this time, and would need to be placed into missing data.

Second, many variables remain unlabeled, and many data entries in other variables appear to be totally inappropriate.

Third, the data file available to the Data Bank since 1996 contains only 477 cases, while written materials indicate that there should be 579 interviews in the file.

Finally, the Main Report methodology summary is sufficiently detailed to provide researchers with sufficient information to evaluate the survey’s quality, and to provide needed data. It is unlikely that reanalysis of the 1984 data file currently available will add anything of use to the reported data.

Upon special request, the 1984 Atlanta data file (and the frequencies) are available to registered Data Bank members. Extreme caution should be used with this data set: the data file totals do not match those found in the published report, and there is no "weight" variable in the data file.


Survey Reports

» Main Report

» Summary Report

Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

» Questionnaire

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