2011 Greater Cleveland Jewish Population Study

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation of Cleveland

Principal Investigator(s): Jacob B. Ukeles, Pearl Beck, Ron Miller, David Dutwin

Study Dates: Survey Interviewing March 28, 2011 through June 30, 2011

Population Estimates:

An estimated 80,800 Jewish persons live in 38,300 Jewish households in the Greater Cleveland Study area. Including non-Jews, the total number of people living in these households is approximately 98,300.

Key Findings:

The total number of Jewish persons living in Greater Cleveland has been stable since the 1996 Study (most recent RDD-based study)

  • In 1996, the Study estimated 80,500 Jews living in residential households and an additional 1,000 in nursing homes;

    The 2011 survey-based estimate of 80,500 Jewish persons includes almost all current nursing home residents (except for perhaps 100).

  • The Jewish Federation of Cleveland's "Stability & Opportunity" Summary Report asks "Why is the estimate of the number of Jews unchanged since 1996 and so much higher than conventional wisdom."

  • In brief, Cleveland Jewish population losses since 1996 which were "highly visible" to community members were actually offset by "less visible" increases, including growth in the Orthodox Jewish community (2,200 more Orthodox Jews in 2011) and the arrival of at least 5,300 Jewish newcomers to Cleveland.

  • The number of Jewish households increased by 14% and the number of all people living in Jewish households increased 11% from 1996 to 2011, given increases in intermarriage and slightly higher proportions of household members NOT being raised Jewish.

Age distribution patterns also reflect a balanced Jewish community: 23% of Jewish persons are children compared to 19% seniors.

  • The number of Jewish seniors declined from 16,500 in 1996 to 15,000 in 2011, although Jewish seniors are older in 2011 (55% of 2011 Jewish seniors are at least age 75 compared to only 41% in 1996;

57% of all survey respondents were born in Greater Cleveland, another 10% in Ohio, and 6% in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

The most dramatic Jewish population decline occurred in the Northern Heights geographic sub-area while the major Jewish growth occurred in the combined, contiguous sub-area which includes Beachwood, the East Side suburbs, and Solon and the Southeast.

Intermarriage has increased since the 1996 study - 38% of currently married couples are intermarried in 2011 compared to 23% in 1996:

  • 42% of couples who were married since 1996 (and are still married) are intermarried;

Jewish community described as "strong, highly engaged':

Being Jewish is very important to 75% of Jewish respondents, being part of a Jewish community is very important to about half, 44% very attached to Israel and another 42% somewhat attached;

  • 33% of children in intermarried households are being raised Jewish-only, another 22% Jewish and something else - - only 7% are being raised in another religion.

  • Almost all children raised Jewish-only have had some Jewish education, as have 43% of children being raised Jewish and something else.

Almost half of all Jewish survey respondents self-identify as Reform, 25% as Conservative, 10% as Orthodox (Orthodox Jewish households include 18% of all Jewish persons, and 14% are either secular or non-denominational;

  • Among younger Jewish respondents (18-34), 33% identify as Orthodox, 26% secular/non-denominational, 24% Reform and 16% Conservative.

    Younger Jews are connected to the Jewish community: 67% of younger Jewish respondents view being Jewish as very important, 55% view being part of a Jewish community as very important, and Israel attachment reflects visiting (33%) and living in Israel (20%).

Significant economic vulnerability exists among Greater Cleveland's Jewish households:

  • 36% report that they are "just managing" financially and another 5% "cannot make ends meet" - 56% of single-parent households.

     

  • 19% are below 200% of Federal poverty guidelines, compared to 12% in recent studies by the same JPAR team in Greater Baltimore and 11% in Chicago;

     

  • Well over 50% of Cleveland Jewish households report being negatively impacted by the economic downturn; Boomers 50-64 report being hit hardest;

     

  • 30% of households earning under $50,000 annually report that cost had prevented synagogue membership in the year or two preceding the survey

     

  • 42% report synagogue membership, down from 52% in 1996 - overall Jewish organizational affiliation (any Jewish organization) includes 52% of all 2011 households, down from 69% in 1996.

     

  • Congregation membership is strongly shaped by household income; only one-of-three households with incomes under $100,000 are synagogue-affiliated, compared to over six of ten with higher incomes.

     

  • 57% of Jewish households with children which have annual incomes of under $50,000 note that cost prevented them from sending a child to an overnight camp to only 10% of those households with incomes of at least $100,000.

In addition to the 15,000 Jewish seniors in Greater Cleveland, another 2,300 non-Jewish seniors are in the community.

 

  • 20% of all seniors age 70+ report that they or someone else in the household requires assistance with activities of daily life.

     

  • 35% of all Jewish seniors live alone (N=5,200) - - about four-in-ten do not have an adult child leaving nearby, and 26% of Jewish seniors living alone are below the 200% poverty level.

The Greater Cleveland Jewish community stresses the opportunities for assisting community members in need; spanning issues from developmental disabilities to senior care, Jewish households consistently turn to the Jewish communal safety net (about 4-of-10 households seeking assistance for senior home care, jobs, dementia/Alzheimer's issues, developmental disabilities and/or serious mental illness have contacted a Jewish agency for help.)

Jewish philanthropy patterns reflect those of well-integrated Jewish communities: almost everyone (88%) donates to some charitable organization, two-of three (65%) donate to a Jewish cause, and 45% report a Jewish Federation contribution.

Sample:

Jewish households and Jewish persons living in the Greater Cleveland Study area served by the Jewish Federation - Cuyahoga County predominantly, but includes random sampling and interviewing in contiguous areas in Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Portage and Summit Counties, OH.

Sample Size: 1,044 completed telephone interviews (average time 20-22 minutes)

Sample Notes:

The 2011 Greater Cleveland Jewish Population Study was conducted by JPAR: Jewish Policy and Action Research - - a strategic alliance between Ukeles Associates, Inc. (UAI) and Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS).

The sampling design utilized three complementary, stratified random sampling frames within the Greater Cleveland Study area: (1) A landline based, unduplicated, Jewish community list of known households generated from the lists of major Jewish organizations in the community, including the Jewish Federation (2) a landline based residual random digit dialing (RDD) frame, which included all possible telephone numbers in the Study area, after the List telephone numbers had electronically purged; and (3) an RDD cell phone frame for the entire area.

The total number of separate telephone numbers called for the study was over 85,000, including approximately 11,550 numbers randomly called within the cell phone frames.

  • 75% of Jewish households identified during the screening process completed the 20 minute telephone interview;

  • Among the 1,044 completed interviews were 65 from the cell phone frame, designed to include younger Jewish adults in the survey.

  • Response rate (AAPOR3) was 37%.

  • Survey error estimate is +/- 6.5% for analyses using all 1,044 interviews from the 2011 Greater Cleveland Jewish Population Study - including design effects from sampling and post-stratification.

  • Additional details, including discussion of post-stratification and weighting, are available in the Research Methodology report from SSRS in the downloadable files section.
Study Notes:

Interviews were completed with either Jewish respondents or non-Jewish spouses who felt comfortable answering questions about their household's Jewish experiences - - in order to maximize participation of intermarried couples.

  • Overall, 13% of all weighted interviews [N=44, 4% of unweighted interviews] were completed with non-Jewish respondents - typically from the RDD frame, not the Community List frames.

    Within the RDD sampling frames, 20% of all weighted completed interviews were with non-Jewish spouses and another 10% were with Jewish-and-something-else respondents.

  • In the Community List frames, 3% of respondents [weighted] were non-Jewish and another 3% self-identified as Jewish-and-something-else.

  • Interviews with non-Jewish spouses accounted for 52% of all weighted completed interviews with intermarried couples; another 13% of intermarried household respondents self-identified as Jewish-and-something-else.