The Jewish Community of Montreal, 2011

Sponsor(s): Federation CJA (Montreal), Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA

Principal Investigator(s): Charles Shahar

Study Dates: 2011 National Household Survey of Canadians

Population Estimates:

The Jewish population of Montreal was 90,780 in 2011. 

These 90,780 Jewish persons represent 2.4% of all Montreal residents.

Jewish households in Montreal (40,400) represent 2.5% of all Montreal metropolitan area households

Montreal has the second largest Jewish community in Canada, but its Jewish population is only about half of Toronto's 188,715 Jews.

Key Findings:

There are ten numbered reports (in six volumes) on Jewish Montreal, 2011, plus an unnumbered "Brief" on Fertility Rates in Montreal's Jewish Community.  All data are based on the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey.

 Part 1 Basic Demographics and Part 2 Geographic Areas of Residence were issued in a combined report in June, 2014 written by Charles Shahar. Part 3 on Jewish Seniors and Part 4 on The Jewish Poor were released as a combined report by Shahar in September, 2014. Parts 5: The Jewish Family and Part 6: Intermarriage were released as a combined report by Charles Shahar and Randal Schnoor in January, 2015. Part 7 on Sephardic Jews was issued in April, 2015.  Parts 8 (Immigration & Language) and Part 9: Core FSU Jews were added in September, 2015.  In December, 2015, Shahar published Part 10 on Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

Population and  Demographics: MONTREAL

• The Jewish population of Montreal was 90,780 in 2011. Jews comprised 2.4% of the total Montreal population.

• Between 2001 and 2011 the Jewish community diminished by 2,760 people, or 3%. This loss was significantly lower than that experienced in the previous decade.

• Montreal has the second largest Jewish community in Canada, and about a quarter (23.2%) of the country’s Jewish population.

• The total number of Jewish seniors in Montreal decreased since 2001, from 20,165 to 18,525. Nonetheless, the Jewish community has a much larger proportion of seniors
(20.4%) than Montreal’s total general population (13.4%).

• The percentage of Baby Boomers (46-65 years) in the Montreal Jewish community is
relatively low compared to other populations.

• The median age of the Montreal Jewish community (39.9 years) is somewhat younger than that of the Canadian Jewish population (40.5 years). This is a surprising finding which is probably related to the lower number of seniors in the community.

• The size of the Jewish community’s population ranks eleventh among ethnic groups in
Montreal. The largest representations are among the Canadian, French, Italian, Arab, British,and Caribbean communities.

• Jews rank fifth in size among religious groups. Catholics are the largest group, followed by Protestants, Muslims and Christian Orthodox.


• The area with the largest Jewish population in the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area
(CMA) is Cote St. Luc, with 19,395 Jews. The West Island has the second largest
community, with 12,055 Jewish residents.

• Hampstead has the highest density of Jews, who comprise 75.2% of its total populace. Cote St. Luc also has a high density of Jews, comprising 62.1% of its overall population.

•  The most significant Jewish population losses between 2001 and 2011 occurred in Chomedey (-40.4%), Town of Mount Royal (-36.3%), and Cote des Neiges (-31.6%).

• The Jewish population of the West Island also showed losses between 2001 and 2011, due to a decline in the number of Jews in Dollard des Ormeaux. However, the rest of the West Island showed gains in the number of Jews living there.

• The Cote St. Luc community has the largest number of Jewish children (3,145), Jewish teens and young adults (2,070), Jews 25-44 years (3,305), and Jews 45-64 years (4,585), in the Montreal CMA.

• Cote St. Luc also has 6,290 Jewish seniors (65+ years). More than a third of Jewish elderly in the Montreal CMA reside in Cote St. Luc.

Jewish residents in Town of Mount Royal have a median age of 56.1 years, the highest of any Jewish population in the Montreal CMA.

The lowest median age is found for the Tosh Chassidic community in Boisbriand (13.5 years), followed by the Outremont Jewish community (19.6 years). Both of these areas have significant Ultra Orthodox communities.

Jewish Seniors

There are 18,525 Jewish elderly 65+ years residing in the Montreal CMA.

Seniors comprise 20.4% of the 90,780 members of the Jewish community here. These figures do not include Jewish seniors living in institutions.

• The percentage of elderly in the Montreal Jewish community (20.4%) is much higher than the proportion of seniors in the overall Montreal population (13.5%). It is also higher than the percentage of elderly in the Canadian Jewish population (16.9%).

• While seniors represent 20.4% of all Montreal's Jews, they account for 46.5% of all Jews
who live alone.

• A large number of elderly Jews reside in Cote St. Luc (6,290), comprising almost a third
(32.4%) of the total Jewish population in that area. There are also large contingents of Jewish seniors in Ville St. Laurent (2,045), Cote des Neiges (1,380), and Westmount (1,265).

• Almost half (44.8%) of elderly Jewish women live alone; only 17.3% of men live in single person households.

• A total of 3,615 seniors live below the poverty line, or 19.5% of the elderly Jewish
population. More than a third (39.8%) of elderly women who live alone are poor, comprising
1,810 individuals.

The number of poor elderly women in single person households is more
than three times that of men.

The Jewish Poor

There are 18,130 Jews living below the poverty line in the Montreal CMA.

The poor comprise 20% of a total Jewish population of 90,780 in the local community.

• The percentage of economically disadvantaged has been steadily rising in the Montreal
Jewish community. In 1981 there were 15.5% poor here, compared to 17.7% in 1991, 18.6% in 2001, and 20% in 2011.

• The level of poverty among children 0-14 years in the Montreal Jewish population is 20.5%. There are 3,655 children in the local Jewish community who live in economically
disadvantaged circumstances.

• More than a third (34%) of individuals living in female single parent families are
economically disadvantaged. The poverty level of children under 15 years living in these
families is remarkably high - 51%.

• Young Jewish adults between 15-24 years who are unattached (living alone or with non-relatives) are a particularly vulnerable group for poverty (81.5%).

The Jewish Family

• The current level of those living in family arrangements (82.6%) is lower than the
proportions in 2001 (83.4%) and 1991 (83.9%). The percentage of Jews living in families has thus declined slightly over the last two decades.

• The number of Montreal Jews living in single parent families (7,525) is similar to that of
1991 (7,415), although the current figure represents a peak for this group.

• About one in eleven Jewish children (< 15 years) in Montreal live in lone parent families (8.6%).

• In the last decade, the fastest growing groups as far as marital status is concerned were those who are divorced / separated (+20%) and those are choosing to live in common law
arrangements (+16.7%).

• Persons living alone comprise 14.2% of the total Jewish population in this metropolitan area.


• 16.7% of Jewish spouses / partners are married to, or partnered with, non-Jews in the Montreal metropolitan area. This figure is considered to be the intermarriage rate for the Montreal Jewish community. (In absolute terms, 6,815 of 40,885 Jewish spouses / partners are intermarried.)

• The level of intermarriage among spouses less than 30 years of age is 25.2%. Among those who are at least 40 years old, it is 14.1%.

• There has been a 38.2% increase in the number of Jews living in intermarried households in the last two decades. The number has climbed from 7,310 in 1991 to 10,100 individuals by 2011. As a proportion of the total Jewish population, the percentage of Jews living in intermarried households increased from 9.5% in 1991 to 15% in 2011.

• About one in eight Jewish children under 15 years of age (living in couple families) reside in intermarried arrangements (12.7%). About one in six children under the age of 5 years live in intermarried families (16.4%).

• Regarding the youngest children of intermarried couples, almost a third (30.7%) are identified by their parents as Jews; about half (50.9%) are assigned no religious affiliation; and the rest (18.4%) are identified as having other religions.

• Whether it is the husband or the wife who is of the Jewish faith
has a significant bearing on the religious orientation of their children.

• The geographic area with the largest proportion of Jews living in intermarried households is the miscellaneous area of "Rest of Montreal CMA" (48.1%), followed by NDG / Montreal Ouest (30.1%) and Centre Ville (23.5%). In absolute terms, the largest number of intermarried Jews live in "Rest of Montreal CMA" (4,180). These individuals are more geographically distant from Jewish centers and therefore represent a special challenge for community outreach and engagement efforts.


Part 7 of the Montreal report series focused on the Sephardic Community in Montreal -  both English and French versions are available for downloading - was issued in April, 2015.  Among the highlights:

•  There are 22,225 Sephardim residing in the Montreal CMA. Sephardim comprise 24.5% of the 90,780 members of the Jewish community here. There are also 715 individuals of mixed (Sephardic and Ashkenazi) extraction living in the area.

• About one in five Sephardim (20.4%) are seniors. As large numbers of middle-aged
Sephardim enter their senior years, the proportion of Sephardic elderly will likely increase

• Cote St. Luc has the largest population of Sephardim in the Montreal CMA (5,580). There are also large contingents of Sephardim living in Ville St. Laurent (3,365) and the West Island (2,205).

• There are 9,735 Canadian-born Sephardim living in Montreal, comprising 43.8% of the
Sephardic community. The rest of the Sephardic population (56.2%) are immigrants. More
than a quarter of Sephardim (28.3%) were born in Morocco.

 • The percentage of adult Sephardim with a university degree has increased significantly
from 35.7% in 2001 to 45.7% in 2011.

• There are 4,080 poor Sephardim residing in the Montreal metropolitan area, or 18.4% of the total Sephardic population. The poverty level among Sephardim is lower than that of the rest of the Jewish community (20.5%).

Immigration & Language (Part 8 Montreal series).

• About a third (33.9%) of the Montreal Jewish population are immigrants, born outside Canada.

• Of a total of 129,680 Jewish immigrants residing in Canada, 23.7% live in the Montreal metropolitan area, comprising 30,795 individuals.

• In the Montreal Jewish population, there are 8,380 Jews who were born in North Africa / Middle East (excluding Israel). There are also 4,465 Jews who were born in Israel, 4,365 born in the Former Soviet Union, 3,965 in Western Europe, 3,965 in Eastern Europe, 3,880 in the United States, and 870 in South America.

• Between 2000 and 2011, the largest number of Jewish immigrants came from the Former Soviet Union (1,915), followed by 1,300 from Israel and 1,105 from the United States. Many of the Jewish immigrants from the United States are likely to be Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

• The youngest median ages, of any immigrant group in the Montreal Jewish community, are of those born in Mexico (34 years) and the United States (35.4 years). The oldest include Jews born in Poland (82.5 years), Czechoslovakia (79.2 years), Syria (77.9 years), Iraq (76 years), Hungary (74.2 years), and Rumania (74.2 years).

• Cote St. Luc has the largest number of foreign-born Jews in Montreal (7,535), followed by "Rest of Montreal" (4,835), Ville St. Laurent (3,030), and the West Island (2,545).

Core FSU Jews (Part 9 Montreal)

• The total number of Core FSU Jews in the Montreal CMA was found to be 7,760. Individuals of Core FSU extraction comprise 8.5% of the total population of 90,780 Jews residing in the Greater Montreal Area.

• The median age of Core FSU Jews (32.9 years) is lower than that of "Other Jews" living in the Montreal CMA (40.8 years).

• There is a large representation of Core FSU Jews in Cote St. Luc (1,855). There is also a large number of Core FSU Jews in Snowdon (1,050). Other areas with at least 500 Jews of Core FSU extraction include the West Island (950) and NDG / Montreal Ouest (555).

• Core FSU Jews comprise 7,780 of 43,390 total individuals of FSU background living in the Montreal CMA, or 17.9%. In other words, more than a sixth of the total FSU population residing in Greater Montreal are identified as Jews.

Part 10: Holocaust Survivors was issued in December, 2015, along with a report on Holocaust Survivors nationally and another separate report on Toronto's Jewish Survivor Population.  Of the 17,300 Canadian Jewish Survivors nationally, 5,795 are estimated to reside in Montreal, 33.5% of the national total -  while 8,930 reside in Toronto, 51.6% of the total Survivor population.  All three reports on Jewish Holocaust Survivors can be found at this Holocaust Survivor in Canada link (also on left side links)

"Brief: Fertility Rates of Montreal's Jewish Community" was added to the Montreal 2011 NHS analysis in April 2015, paralleling a similarly issued five-page "Brief" for  Jewish communities in Canada. Table 1 indicates that the Jewish persons fertility rate estimate is 2.27 (above the standard 2.1 replacement rate standard).  Table 2 compares Fertility Rates in all Jewish communities in Canada, and Table 3 compares the Jewish fertility rates to major ethnic groups in Canada.

Study Notes:

DataBank users should review the Appendices to the report in addition to the main text and summary of findings. 

The Appendices include discussions of the utility of the National Household Survey of 2011 (which replaced earlier Census "long-form" data collection efforts), a discussion of the Revised Jewish Definition used in 2011 and a comparison with the Standard Jewish Definition used in earlier Census-based reports on Jewish Canada, a discussion of ethnic origin attribution used in the definition of Jewish persons, and supplemental, additional tables on both demographics and geography.

Language: English