2001 Study of the Houston Jewish Community

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation of Greater Houston

Principal Investigator(s): David E. Lytle

Study Dates: Telephone Interviewing, September 1, 2001 to November 15, 2001.

Population Estimates:

LIST-based Study was NOT designed to provide a Jewish household/persons estimate.

However, the Introductory Letter by  Dr. Stephen L. Klineberg to this 2001 Houston Jewish community study's 2001 Main Report (PDF, p.3) provided a 2001 estimate of 47,000 Jewish persons in Harris County.  As Dr. Klineberg noted, the 47,000 is an estimate of the number of Harris County residents who "...identify themselves as Jewish."

Dr. Klineberg's letter indicates that the Houston Area Survey at Rice University Study has consistently found that the Jewish proportion of Greater Houston to be approximately 1.35%; using the 2001 area population, he estimated the Jewish-identifying population at 47,000.

In the same letter, Dr. Klineberg also noted that in the 1986 study, the "Jewish population" was estimated at 45,000.  Two caveats regarding the 1986 estimate: (1) as far as the DataBank can determine, the Harris County portion of the entire study area included 42,500 people living in Jewish households; another 2,500 lived in suburban areas; and, (2) the term "Jewish population" used in the 1985 study -  as in many other studies done during that era -  included Jews and non-Jews living in the household as part of the "Jewish population."  The number of Jewish-identifying persons in 1986 was undoubtedly less than 42,500 in Harris County and 45,000 in the entire Study area.

In 2015, the Jewish Community of Houston completed a state-of-the-art study of the Houston Jewish community.  Dr. Ira Sheskin, principal investigator of the 2015 study, has indicated that the report to be issued in the Fall of 2016 will clarify the earlier estimates of Jewish-identified persons, in contrast to the total number of people living in a household with a Jewish adult (Jews and non-Jews).  The 2015 study report will also contrast the earlier estimates with the 2015 study estimates and results.

Key Findings:

The 2001 Greater Houston Jewish Demographic Survey was based on Jewish persons/households which were connected to or affiliated with 36 Jewish organizations in the area.  The Main Report summarizes the results of the 801 household interviews.

Results of the survey are ONLY appropriately generalized to the affiliated Jewish population of Greater Houston, which is estimated to be 50%-70% of all Jewish households/persons in the area.  A Jewish persons population estimate was not part of the goal of the 2001 survey (see "Population Estimates" below).

A summary of findings from the telephone survey can be found under "Implications" (page 16 of PRIZM report).

Topics summarized include age, gender, geography, children, family cycle, income, education, place of birth, migration, moving plans, services, Jewish schooling and education of children, Jewish camp, Jewish youth groups, intermarriage (10% of affiliated), etc.

PRIZM analysis (begins on page 101 of the report) uses classification of residential areas (and Jews within those areas) based on a Claritas, Inc. model, and is usually done on LIST data without a telephone interviewing component - since survey interviewing data can provide much of the socio-economic status data from PRIZM on a household-by-household basis, as opposed to the PRIZM model of attributing collective geographic-based demographic data to individual households.


Adult Jewish Households in the Greater Houston Area that are formally associated with a Jewish institution

Sample Size: 801 completed telephone interviews.

Sample Notes:

The data were gathered from 801 Jewish households that were formally associated with one of 36 Jewish organizations in Houston.

These households had at least one Jewish individual, defined as a person who identified as Jewish through religion, parentage or upbringing.

Users are cautioned (by authors of the PRIZM report and the Data Bank) not to generalize the results of this study to the entire Houston Jewish community, as institutionally unaffiliated Jews were not sampled.  Moreover, the report does not differentiate (as noted in "Population Estimates" above) between Jewish and non-Jewish household members.

New Sources served as a "blind trust" for organizational lists from 36 Jewish agencies in the Greater Houston area. Initial count of 90,000 records was reduced to 16,641 households (many of which were not Jewish) after de-duplication.

Respondents were randomly selected from within the cleaned combined list; note on interview time and Orthodox respondents is unclear as to whether interviewing was conducted on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

Questionnaire indicates which questions were asked of all respondents and which were asked in a split-sample design (Module A, Module B) and which were asked all questions ("Backbone").

Study Notes:

Two data files from the telephone interviews are available below:

An interview-format-based household data file (SPSS SAV and POR) with 801 Respondents, 789 of whom are Jewish, and an extensive individual data file (both SPSS formats) with a total of 1,929 individuals from these 801 households ("CaseID" indicates which individuals belong to which household).

Questions in the data files are geared to the survey Questionnaire - which is indexed at the top (please ignore "Not for Distribution" note).

All data files graciously supplied by Dr. Bruce Phillips.


Map on page 10 of the PDF highlights the geographic areas subdivision used in the report and in the data file.

Language: English


Survey Reports

» Main Report, Houston 2001

Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

» Questionnaire

Data Files and Data Definitions

» Zipped SPSS Data File

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