A Portrait of Jewish Columbus - The 2013 Jewish Community Study

Sponsor(s): Columbus Jewish Foundation, The Jewish Federation of Columbus, The Wexner Foundation

Principal Investigator(s): Steven M. Cohen, David Dutwin, Ron Miller, Jacob B. Ukeles

Study Dates: May 29, 2013 through July 31, 2013

Population Estimates:

Population Estimates:

The 2013 Jewish Community Study of  Greater Columbus estimated that 25,500 Jewish persons live in 14,200 Jewish households in the Columbus area, which included Franklin County and parts of Delaware, Licking and Pickaway.  An additional 11,500 non-Jewish persons also live in these households, for a total of 37,000 people living in these Jewish households.

From 2001 to 2013, the number of Jewish persons increased from 22,000 to 25,500 (a 16% increase), while the number of Jewish households increased from 11,900 in 2001 to 14,200 in 2013 (a 19% increase).


Key Findings:

The 2013 Jewish Community Study of Columbus, OH estimated that 25,500 Jewish persons live in the Greater Columbus area, an increase of 16% over the 2011 estimate of 22,000. Summarized in A Portrait of Jewish Columbus: Executive Summary 2013 and in  accompanying slide sets, the survey covers a wide range of topics, including population estimates, demographic characteristics, Jewish identity, religious beliefs and practices, intermarriage, and connections with Israel.  

Among the major findings:  (1) the Jewish community of Columbus is relatively young, with children under age 18 accounting for 21% of all people (Jews and non-Jews) living in Jewish households compared to 16% who are seniors; since 2001, the  percentage of seniors increased from 8% to 16% in 2013, while the percentage of children decreased slightly from 25% to 21%. 

(2) Compared to other Jewish communities in the region, Columbus has a higher percentage of younger adults - 22% of Columbus Jewish persons are between 18 and 34, compared to 20% in Cincinnati, 18% in Chicago and 14% in Cleveland.

(3) Bexley remains an important and stable center of Jewish life in Columbus, even though only 21% of area Jews live in Bexley (and Eastmoor) in 2013 compared to 33% in 2001.  Connections to Jewish life are especially strong among Bexley's Jews.  94% of Bexley's Jewish households report a Jewish charitable donation the year before the study, 92% of couples are inmarried and 86% of Jewish respondents say being Jewish is "very important" in their lives.

(4) Other geographic areas in Greater Columbus have experienced significantly more Jewish population growth, but overall, the Jewish households and persons in the other geographic sub-areas are significantly less engaged in Jewish life.  For example, only 17% of Jewish households (at least one Jewish adult) in the Downtown/University area report a Jewish charitable contribution compared to Bexley's 94%.

(5) Nearly one of three Columbus Jews can best be defined as "partially Jewish" -  29% of all Jewish adults and 46% of all children in Jewish households.

(6) 52% of all currently married couples are intermarried, compared to an estimated (by JPAR, the research consultant) 61% of couples nationally (reported by Pew 2013 as 44% of Jewish persons, which equates to 61% of couples).  53% of all children in the community live in intermarried households; 34% of the children of intermarried couples are being raised Jewish-only, while 28% are being raised partially Jewish.

(7) About one-of-five Jewish households were defined as "poor," with household incomes and household size which placed them below 150% of  Federal poverty guidelines -  higher than Chicago's 7% of Jewish households and Cleveland's 12%. Of all respondents in poor Jewish household's, 61% are between 30 and 64, while 17% work full time and 20% work part-time.

(8)  Jewish ritual practice: 62% of households always/usually light Chanukah candles, 61% attend a Passover Seder, 42% have someone who fasts on Yom Kippur, 17% light Shabbat candles and 11% keep completely kosher at home.

A brief video summary of the Columbus 2013 study and a summary article published by the Columbus Dispatch on April 10, 2014 are available by clicking on this link or the link on the left side of this page.





762 interviews were completed with Jewish households (at least one adult defines self as Jewish).

Sample Size: 762 Jewish Household Interviews

Sample Notes:

Methodology is described in a detailed Methodology report written for JPAR by David Dutwin, JPAR's Chief Methodologist.  It includes a complete sample disposition for the Study, a detailed description of the sample design  (LIST, RDD landlines, RDD cell phones) as well as post-stratification efforts, design effect calculations and a comparison to other JPAR study design effects, Jewish household and population estimate and weighting procedures, potential error ranges, etc.

The survey screening questions, the questionnaire, and interviewer-related materials for the project are included in the Methodology Report -  the screening questions and questionnaire are also available as separate downloads under "documentation."

Survey interviewing was completed between May 29, 2013 through July 31, 2013.  A total of 85,540 numbers were dialed, of which 25,349 were cell phone numbers. 

Potential sampling error for all 762 completed interviews is +/-5% (including design effect).

Response rate was 32% overall, 36% in the land line strata and 23% in the cell phone strata.  190 interviews were completed with respondents on cell phones.

The study achieved a 88% cooperation rate for identified Jewish households - essentially the same rate in the land line and the cell phone frames.



Study Notes:

The study was completed by JPAR -  Jewish Policy & Action Research. JPAR is a strategic alliance of UAI (Ukeles Associates, Inc., New York) and SSRS (Social Science Research Solutions, Media, PA.) for the Jewish Federation of Columbus, the Columbus Jewish Foundation and The Wexner Foundation. 

SSRS  - David Dutwin - was responsible for sample design and sample selection,   interviewing, Jewish population estimating and weighting of the data file.

The UAI Research team  - Steven M. Cohen, Ron Miller and Jacob B. Ukeles -  provided data analysis, modifications to the data file, slide preparation and report writing.


Two different slide sets will be available for downloading as of April 10, 2014. One was produced by JPAR and was presented by Steven M. Cohen at the public rollout on April 9, 2014. 

The other was developed from JPAR slides and JPAR analyses by K.J. Steinman, initially a member of the study design steering committee, who used some of the JPAR slides in his presentations, but also developed some alternate graphic presentations of the JPAR slides data for the Task Force charged with guiding the implementation of programs and policies based on the 2013 Study.  Five task forces have been created to guide the implementation of the study results - the Jewish poor, homes with children 13 and younger, youth 14-21, younger adults 22+ and boomers & seniors.  Dr. Steinman continued to serve as facilitator for the Task Force,


Data file was made available as of January 2015.  Zipped data file available on right side at bottom includes SPSS SAV file, syntax for variables 579-593, a Portable SPSS version of the data file for those requiring a POR file and a PDF of then variable name truncations that occurred when the SAV was converted to a POR file. 

Basic weight to be used is variable 573, HHWt.which extrapolates data to 14.201 Columbus Jewish households (reported as 14,200).  In addition, variable 574 JewWt multiplies HH weight by number of Jews in HH to get precise 25,471 Jews (25,500 in reports), and variable 575 PPLWt multiplies the HH weight by the number of people in the HH to get an estimate of 36,990 people in Jewish HH (reported as 37,000).

These precise numbers can be used to test the success of the downloading process.

Finally, for statistical testing, variable 578, StatHHWt divides the HH weight for each household by the average HH weight; sample size is 768 for these analyses.


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