New Population Survey: 6.4 Million Jews in America

According to a new American Jewish Year Book survey, there are currently 6.4 million Jews in the United States - about a million more than in Israel.

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Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, | updated: 21:30

The results are significantly higher than the total of 5.2 million American Jews identified in a 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey. The researchers involved were careful to note that because population estimates are not an "exact science," population changes did not necessarily occur in just the last few years. "Rather," the survey concludes, "[they] most likely occurred over a long period of time, but [have] only recently been substantiated."

About 2.2 percent of the US population is Jewish, according to American Jewish Year Book statistics. Published by the American Jewish Committee and conducted by Professor Ira Sheskin of the University of Miami and Professor Arnold Dashefsky of the University of Connecticut, the study was based on a tally of individual Jewish communities across the country.

New York, as in years past, was found to have the largest Jewish population of any state, at 1,618,000. California (1,194,000), Florida (653,000) and New Jersey (480,000) had the next largest numbers of Jewish residents. These four states account for more than 60 percent of the entire national Jewish estimate.

Regionally, 44 percent of Jews live in the Northeast; 11 percent live in the Midwest; 22 percent live in the South; and 24 percent live in the West.

San Francisco, California, showed the largest single reported growth nationally among Jewish communities, increasing from 107,900 in 2001 to 227,800 in 2006 - or 10% of the local population. Other areas showing growth of 70,000 or more were Atlanta, Georgia (33,900 to 119,800); San Diego, California (19,000 to 89,000); Montgomery and Price Georges County, Maryland (16,500 to 121,000); and South Palm Beach Florida (14,500 to 107,500).

In reporting 24,000 fewer people than in 2001, Detroit, Michigan, showed the largest single decrease nationally; Miami, Florida, followed with a decrease of 11,700.

Data on the various communities were derived, where available, from studies that have been conducted in those communities, many through scientific methods such as random digit dialing (RDD) telephone surveys. In communities where no scientific study had been completed, information was culled from the mailing lists of local organizations and synagogues. To ensure greater accuracy, the survey instituted a new category of "part- time" residents, in order to eliminate "double counting" of retirees or students in both their home communities and in secondary communities where they lived part of the year.

According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, as of late 2006, there were 7,077,000 Israelis, including 5,368,000 Jews.