Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's not just assimilation

This Pew Research study of religions in America is getting good exposure. Haaretz broke down some interesting stats here. Here are some things I took away:

1. Only 1.7% of America is Jewish (Comparable to Mormons)
2. < 0.3% is Jewish Orthodox. So there are at most ~900,000 (age 18+) of "us" in this great country. Pew's methodology states that they conducted random telephone interviews. I would guess that the "ultra-orthodox" a) have cell phones and not land lines b) are less inclined to answer surveys in general, and may be unable to do so because of language barriers.
3. 72% of Jews (18+) have no children. 82% of Conservative Jews have no children, the highest of any religious group (compare that to 46% of Jews making $100,000+, the highest for any religious group). Even if we consider that the 18-30 demographic is not as likely to have children, that still leaves 57.6% of Jews 30+ and 64% of Conservative Jews with no children. As a further piece of datum that I do not know what to do with, 81% of Jews have been in a committed relationship at some point in their life. How much overlap there is between the remaining 19% and the 18-30 age demographic is unclear.

Let's do a sad back-of-the-envelope calculation. Let's assume that 55% of Jews marry non-Jews and of the 45% of remaining Jews 58% of them have no children. Let's also guess that the avg # of children for those that do decide to have children is 2 (which is about right). In that case, every 100 Jewish adults produces 19 Jewish children! That is a total low ball figure, as ~50% of those that inter-marry still produce halachikally Jewish children, but there is a rather high chance that they will not affiliate as well.

19 for every hundred is not replacement, no where close.


Josh M. said...

The question was regarding having children under the age of 18 *living in their house* - the national rate is 65%, 50% for Mormons.

The 2000 NJPS survey, based on a birth rate of 1.29 children/woman and a 49% intermarriage rate for secular Jewish women, projected a production of 41 second-generation Jews; the numbers are higher for Conservative Jews and greater than 100 for Orthodox Jews.

Zev said...

I saw the NJPS numbers too. I did not see a cumulative number there, though. It doesn't seem to me that the 1.29 children/women jives with the Pew numbers. I think the Pew numbers come out to something like 0.73 children per couple. Check my math. (58,0);(9,1);(11,2);(4,3);(4,5)

Josh M. said...

Your math is ok, but your numbers are wrong. 72% is the number of households that have no children below the age of 18 in them, including those who have adult children (who would make up the bulk of the 51% above the age of 50).

Zev said...

Good point. I did use the 58% as my weight, not the 72%, but let's use 42% as that assumes that all those >65 and <30 have no children (an minimum, to be sure). I think comes to 0.9 children/couple.