The Jewish Population Study of Greater Atlanta, 2005-2006

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta

Principal Investigator(s): Jacob B. Ukeles, Ron Miller

Study Dates: November 11, 2005 - February 2006. Interviewing conducted by ICR (International Communications Research), Media, PA.

Population Estimates: An estimated 119,800 Jewish persons live in 61,300 Jewish households in 2006. A total of 156,900 people reside in Atlanta Jewish households, including 37,100 non-Jewish persons (24% of all people in these Jewish households in 2006).
Key Findings:
  • The number of Jewish persons living in Greater Atlanta increased 56% from the 1996 study estimate of 78,600 Jews (study also conducted by Ukeles Associates).
  • Atlanta’s Jewish community has grown at approximately the same rate as the general growth in Atlanta: Jewish households represent 4.3% of all Greater Atlanta households in 2006 and represented 4.4% of the area total in 1996.

  • Only ten Jewish communities are larger than Atlanta’s Jewish community: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and three counties in Florida: Broward, South Palm Beach and Greater Palm Beach.

  • 19% of all Jewish survey respondents were born in Georgia (primarily in Atlanta); 81% were born elsewhere, including 30% born in the New York-New Jersey area.

  • 31% of Atlanta Jewish households have moved to the community within the past ten years.

  • Children under age 18 constitute 25% of all Jewish persons in the community, while seniors 65 and older represent only 12%.

  • Intermarriage rates are among the highest of major Jewish communities in the United States and have increased dramatically since 1996. Half (50%) of currently married couples are intermarried, compared to 37% in Atlanta in 1996;

  • 41% of Greater Atlanta children under age 18 (just under 16,000 children) reside in intermarried Jewish households; in these intermarried Jewish households, 39% of children are being raised as Jewish only, 15% as Jewish and something else, 28% in a religion other than Judaism, 14% are “undecided,” and 4% are being raised without any religion.

  • Overall, about 25% of all children ages 6-17 being raised Jewish have not had any Jewish education; among children being raised in an inmarried Jewish household, only 1% have not had any Jewish education, while among children ages 6-17 being raised Jewish in intermarried Jewish households, 67% have not had any Jewish education.

  • Jewish Atlanta is as much a collection of diverse geographic communities as it is one cohesive community. These geographic sub-areas vary not only in terms of the number of Jewish persons, but differ also in their Jewish character, extent to which they attract newcomers, age structure and income. Chapter VIII provides geographic sub-area analyses and comparisons.

  • 14% of Jewish households report annual incomes under $35,000, while 20% of all Jewish households report annual incomes of at least $150,000; subjectively measured, 3-out-of-10 Jewish households are “just managing” financially (at best).

  • Seeking assistance for human service needs varies considerably in Jewish Atlanta. About one-in-five Jewish households has sought help with the chronic illness of a family member during the last twelve months; one-in-six has sought help with emotional disorders, stress, drugs/alcohol, or relationship issues; 7% have sought help for someone with a physical or developmental disability during the last twelve months; 6% sought help for an elderly relative who lives in Atlanta.

  • Being Jewish is very important to 56% of Jewish respondents; only 9% felt that being Jewish was not important. This finding has not changed since 1996.

  • 46% of all respondents report that a household member had attended a Jewish cultural event or museum in the year preceding the survey; 33% of all Jewish households report synagogue membership, and another 9% are either belong to the Marcus JCC and/or are active in another Jewish organization; Jewish websites were visited by 38% of households.

  • Keeping kosher increased slightly from 9% to 13% in 2006. Passover Seder attendance has declined from 76% in 1996 to 62% in 2006; other measures of Jewish ritual practice remained relatively stable.

  • The Jewish commitment to charity (“Tzedakah”) is important to Atlanta Jews of all ages. Half (50%) of Atlanta study respondents report that tzedakah is “very important” to them (anot

Sample: Jewish households in the Greater Atlanta area; geographic sub-areas include Intown Atlanta, Sandy Springs-Dunwoody, East Cobb, North Metro Atlanta, Gwinnett and East Perimeter area, Northern and Western Suburbs, and the "South."

Sample Size: 1,007 completed Jewish household interviews.

Sample Notes: The sampling design utilized a stratified random sample of interviews from two complementary sampling frames: (1) a Jewish community - Federation list of Jewish households, and (2) a residual RDD sample, consisting of all possible RDD (random digit dialed) phone numbers in the Greater Atlanta area, after the phone numbers on the Jewish community list had been removed ("deduplicated"). Research Note describes further sub-stratum construction within the residual RDD sampling frame.

Methodological details in Appendix I Research Note. Sampling disposition included.

Overall response rate was 34% (AAPOR "RR3"). 78% of identified Jewish households completed the interview ("cooperation rate"). Research Note also reports response rates and cooperation rates by sampling frames, and sub-strata.

Research Note includes a discussion of the number of interviews by frame, as well as the percentage of Jewish households from each frame after weighting. While a total of 685 interviews were completed randomly from the List frame and 322 from the residual RDD frames, the weighted data indicate that the List interviews represent only 21% of the weighted Jewish household data file, while the residual RDD frames accounted for 79% of weighted household interviews.

Sampling design, population estimates, and weighting by Dale Kulp, CEO and Founder, GENESYS Sampling Systems.

The data file is weighted to project to number of Jewish households ("HHWT" N=61,331 precise), number of Jewish persons in Jewish households ("JewWt" N=119,789), and total number of people in households ("PopWt" N=156,851). Weights include adjustments for the number of landlines interviewed Jewish and non-Jewish households, as well as for sampling frame adjustments. Details in Research Note in the report.

Study Notes: Please note that the estimated number of younger Atlanta Jews probably reflects an undercount because these households have become increasingly cell-phone-accessible-only where they live, and (unmarried, childless) newcomers are the most likely to have been under-counted in a landline-based RDD survey. The report indicates that "... the 5% of all Atlanta Jews who are between 20 and 29 is surprisingly low. It may reflect a continuation of an actual trend over the past two decades; the 1984 study ... showed that 18% of Atlanta Jews were ages 20-29, while in 1996 the percentage declined to 14%. Or, alternatively, the 5% in 2006 might be a survey anomaly, reflecting the problem of locating young Jewish respondents who have cell phones, but not 'landlines,' in random digit dialed survey research."

As such, researchers using the Atlanta 2006 data and examining written reports should be cautious in their conclusions re: younger Atlanta Jews and mobility.


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Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

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Data Files and Data Definitions

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