United States Jewish Population, 2016 (Sheskin, Dashefsky - American Jewish Year Book)

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, 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): Ira M. Sheskin, Arnold Dashefsky

Population Estimates:

The American Jewish Year Book estimate by Sheskin and Dashefsky for the American Jewish community in 2016 is 6,856,304 Jews, an increase of over 26,000 Jewish persons from the 2015 estimate of 6,829,930.

Allowing for some double counting, the American Jewish Year Book [AJYB] estimate is 6.7 - 6.8 million. This estimate is based on the aggregation of local estimates of more than 900 American Jewish communities. 

In Part III of the report (pp. 6-7), the authors compare the 2016 AJYB estimate to recent estimates from the Pew Research Center in 2013 and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis in 2015 - all of which are "..in general agreement."

Key Findings:

The Berman Jewish DataBank report on United States Jewish Population, 2016 written by Dr. Ira M. Sheskin and Dr. Arnold Dashefsky, derives from Chapter 15 of the American Jewish Year Book, 2016 (of which the authors of the U.S. Jewish Population article are co-editors). 

Jewish Population Estimate: AYJB 2016

Based on a summation of local Jewish community estimates (which are detailed in the Appendix), the estimated size of the American Jewish community in 2015 is 6.856 million Jews, an increase of about 26,000 from the 2015 estimate. Allowing for some double counting, the American Jewish Year Book estimate is 6.7 - 6.8 million; this estimate is based on the aggregation of local estimates of more than 900 American Jewish communities and parts thereof. The bulk of the estimate is based on studies conducted over the past decade.

In Part III of the report (pp. 6-7), the authors compare the 2016 AJYB estimate to recent estimates from the Pew Research Center in 2013 and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis in 2015 - all of which are "..in general agreement."

The precise number of Jews used in all tabular analyses in the Year Book article is 6,856,304.

Organization of data presentation:

• Table 1 provides a state-by-state estimate of the number of Jewish persons, the percentage of each state's population which is Jewish, and the percentage of each state of the total number of Jews in the United States..

• Table 2  Regional estimates of the number of Jewish persons, which shows (for example) that 44% of American Jews live in the Northeastern Census Region compared to 18% of the total US population.

• Table 3 shows the Jewish population of the largest 20 MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas), while Table 4 lists the top 20 largest Combined Statistical Areas).

• Table 5 lists Jewish population estimates for Jewish Federation service areas where the Jewish population is at least 20,000.

• Table 6 shows US Jewish population estimates by STATE for 1971 and 2016, indicating numerical and percentage changes over the time period.  

• In Table 7, Jewish population change 1971-2016 is analyzed by Census Region.  Thus, while 44% of Jews live in the Northeast in 2016, in 1971, the comparable percentage was 63%.

• Tables 8-10 organize available data from local Jewish communities focusing on the percentage of Orthodox Jews in a community (T8), the percentage of single parent households (T9), and the percentage of households with children ages 0-17 (T10).

Map shows 

• The report includes 19 maps of the Jewish population in the United States.  These maps are integrated into the 2016 report, but are also available as a separate download.  The maps visually summarize America's Jewish population distribution by census region (Map 1), in 1971 and 2016 (Maps 2-4), by U.S. county (map 5), and then by region of the United States (maps 6-19).

• Appendix A is a separate publication for 2016.  It provides the number of Jewish persons in communities of at least 100 or more Jews, organized by State and then by communities withing each state.

The companion Appendix A excel file includes detailed comments on sources and dates of the local community estimates.

Study Notes:

This article on United States Jewish Population, 2016 is published as Current Jewish Population Reports, # 16, 2016 of the Berman Jewish DataBank at The Jewish Federations of North America, and is posted with permission of Springer, the current publisher of the American Jewish Year Book.

The Year Book had been published in 108 volumes from 1899 to 2008, until succeeded by the newYearbook, edited by Dashefsky and Sheskin. Please see the Links for U.S. Jewish population estimates from earlier years, including the American Jewish Year Book estimates from 1899-2008.

Please note that the complete American Jewish Year Book, 2016 (hard bound and kindle editions) can be purchased at www.amazon.com.  Persons with access to University libraries that offer Springer’s eBook Collection can obtain a soft cover copy or an electronic copy.

The Table of Contents of the 2016 Yearbook is reproduced in the first few pages of this document.  In 2016, multiple articles on America's Jewish population are included, including multiple analyses/commentaries on the Pew 2013 Portrait of Jewish Americans, as well as articles on the American Jewish family and US-Israel Relations.

Citing Report:

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: Ira M. Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky. “United States Jewish Population, 2016,” in Arnold Dashefsky and Ira M. Sheskin. (Editors) The American Jewish Year Book, 2016, Volume 116 (2016) (Dordrecht: Springer) pp. 153-239.

Following standard bibliographic practices, this could be followed by "...as found at the Berman Jewish DataBank: http://www.jewishdatabank.org/Studies/details.cfm?StudyID=825."

Language: English