1994 Palm Beach Update Demographic Study

Sponsor(s): The Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, Florida

Principal Investigator(s): Ira M. Sheskin

Study Dates: 1994

Population Estimates: Approximately 93,000 persons lived in about 46,500 Jewish households in the service area of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County (from Boynton Beach to Jupiter).
Key Findings:
  • Population findings: The Jewish population grew from about 55,000 in 1980 to 74,000 in 1985 to 93,000 in 1993. The population grew by about 4000 a year from 1987-1992. The most significant change in Jewish population was in Boynton Beach, which more than doubled its number of Jewish households since 1985.

  • Geographic findings: Approximately 19% of Jewish households resided in zip 33467 (Lake Worth), 15% resided in 33437 (Boynton Beach), 9% in 33411 (The West), 7% in 33480 (City of Palm Beach), and 5% in 33436 (Boynton Beach). Thus, excluding those living in Century Village, more than half of the Jewish population lived in one of five zip codes. Overall, 61% had been living in the County for 10 years or more.

  • Demographic findings: 59% of the Jewish population of Palm Beach County (36,000 persons) was age 65 and over. About 5,600 children under age 18 lived in Palm Beach County (9 % of the population). The median age was 68 years. Thus, Palm Beach County had an elderly Jewish population, the oldest studied Jewish community in the United States.

    The percentage who were retired (67%) was the highest of any American Jewish community. The percentage who were retired had increased over the prior 8 years.

Sample Notes: The sample used is a combination of the Federation's mailing list and distinctive Jewish names from the Palm Beach County telephone directory. In making comparisons to 1987, the reader can only compare this to the DJN sample from 1987.

Also, to meet the time frame of the strategic' planning process, this survey was executed in May, 1994, when the vast majority of part-year residents were no longer in Palm Beach County. Also, because Century Village data was available from the US Census, the decision was made not to interview in Century Village. Thus, in comparing the results with 1987, the reader can only compare the results for full-year residents in 1994 with the results from full-year residents (not living in Century Village) in 1987.

Study Notes: This author completed a major demographic Study of the Jewish population of Palm Beach County for the Federation in 1987. That 1987 report formed the basis for much of the demographic information for the strategic planning committee in 1994; however, major demographic studies are usually completed by Federations at 10-year intervals. As of the time of the current study, about seven years had passed since the 1987 study. Therefore, this study was designed to collect some basic demographic information to update the 1987 study.


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