Jewish Population in Canada, 2015

Sponsor(s): American Jewish Year Book, Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry (ASSJ), Berman Jewish DataBank@The Jewish Federations of North America, Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ Stanford, Mandell and Madeleine Berman Foundation, University of Connecticut - Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Miami - Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Jewish Studies

Principal Investigator(s): Charles Shahar

Population Estimates:

Summary report by Charles Shahar is based on results of the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey, and was published as part of the American Jewish Year Book in 2015.

The entire series of monographs written by Charles Shahar (and others) on Jews in Canada based on the 2011 National Household Survey is available at the Berman Jewish DataBank.

Population Estimates

Shahar notes that the Canadian Jewish population as of the 2011 National Household Survey was 391,665, an increase of 4.7% since the 2001 Canadian National Census reports on Jewish Canada were issued.

• Canadian Jews represent 1.2% of Canada's 32.9 million population in 2011, compared to the estimate of 2.1% for the United States' total population in the article by Sheskin and Dashefsky in the 2015 Year Book.

From 1991 the Canadian Jewish population increased by 9.1% while the general population grew by 21.7%.


Table 1 in the report provides an excellent historical summary of the number of Jewish persons in Canada from 1901 through 2011.

Table 2 shows Jewish population distribution by province; Ontario's 226,610 Jewish persons represent 57.9% of all Canadian Jews, while Quebec's 93,625 Jews are 23.9% of the Canadian total

Table 3 summarizes the 20 largest Jewish communities in Canada, led by Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.  

Shahar summarizes data which estimate that just over 26% of all Canadian couples are intermarried, and notes widespread variation in intermarriage by geography: Montreal 16.7%, Toronto 17.0%, Winnipeg 25.4%, Ottawa 40.4% and Vancouver 43.4%.

A brief review of the Montreal Jewish community is also included in the paper.


Key Findings:

Charles Shahar provides an easily accessible overview of Canadian Jewry in a relatively brief article which was originally published in The American Jewish Year Book.  Shahar summarizes data on  Canada's  Jewish population  based on the findings of the 2011 National Household Survey of Canada, which (unlike the US Census) includes information on respondent religion.

DataBank users may want to read Shahar's 2015 American Jewish Year Book article for a basic introduction to the Jewish demographics of Canada, and then explore the wealth of data on Canadian Jews in the 2011 Jewish analysis series from the National Household Survey. The entire series of monographs written by Charles Shahar (and others) on Jews in Canada, 2011  is available at the Berman Jewish DataBank.  

The monograph series includes reports on national data and on significant local Jewish communities,which typically focus on population, geography, Jewish seniors, the Jewish poor, family and intermarriage, immigration and language,  

Also available are reports on special topics, such as Holocaust Survivors in Canada, and a series of Briefs on Fertility for Canada nationally and for the largest Jewish communities in Canada.

Shahar's concluding remarks provide an excellent overview, with a hint of the direction of future Canadian Jewish life."

"The Canadian Jewish population has seen only modest growth in the past twenty years, following a more significant increase between 1981 and 1991. The latter decade coincided with the beginning of significant immigration by Jews from the FSU. Jews reside in every region of Canada including the Northern Territories, although they are concentrated heavily in the major urban centers. The metropolitan area of Toronto is home to 188,710 Jews, and includes about half (48.2%) of Canada's Jewish population. The Montreal community numbers 90,780 Jews. The median age (40.5 years) of Canadian Jews is slightly older than the national average, but much older than ethnic groups with large numbers of more recent immigrants."

"The intermarriage rate among Canadian Jews (26.3%) is well below that of
American Jews (61%). However, there are significant differences across Canadian
metropolitan areas, with the lowest intermarriage rates evident in more traditional
communities, such as Montreal and Toronto. Particularly relevant to the issue of Jewish
continuity are the findings that the intermarriage rate among households with both
spouses under age 30 is 43.0%; and only about a quarter of the youngest children of
intermarried couples are identified by their parents as Jews by religion."

Study Notes:

This brief summary article on the Jewish Population in Canada, 2015 is published as Current Jewish Population Reports, # 15, 2015 of the Berman Jewish DataBank at The Jewish Federations of North America  It is posted with permission of Springer, the current publisher of the American Jewish Year Book. This article by Charles Shahar derives from Chapter 6 of the American Jewish Year Book, 2015.  For more information about the American Jewish Year Book see the links on the left. 

Please note that persons with access to University libraries that offer Springer’s eBook Collection can obtain a soft cover copy or an electronic copy for $25.


Springer is permitting us to post this Report on line with open access, but requests that the citation be to the American Jewish Year Book itself: Shahar, Charles. 2015. “Jewish Population of Canada, 2015,” in Arnold Dashefsky and Ira M. Sheskin. (Editors) The American Jewish Year Book, 2015, Volume 115 (2015) (Dordrecht: Springer) pp. 261-271.

Following standard bibliographic practices, this could be followed by " found at the Berman Jewish DataBank:"


Language: English