Trends in American Jewish
Numbers and Geography
While there is no agreement on the number
of Jews in the U.S.
, nor whether that number
is increasing or decreasing, it probably
matters little in the ability of American
Jews to have their say in the political
- With most elections being decided by 1-5 percentage points, even a small minority can influence an election, particularly in States with somewhat larger percentages of Jews.
- While the Jewish population has undergone a major geographic shift from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and the West, electoral votes have done the same.
- Jews continue to concentrate in the most populous states with the most electoral votes.
- Jews get elected to Congress even from states with very few Jews.
- Jews do form a significant percentage of the population in some urban areas.
- Evidence shows a tendency away from Democratic and toward Independent, but not Republican, among younger Jews.
- Females are more likely to identify as Democratic than are males.
- Orthodox Jews are less likely to be Democratic and more likely to be Republican.
- Since 1916, the percentage of Jews voting for the Republican candidate for President has varied from 10% to 45%. While in recent years, the percentage has been increasing, the percentage has been much higher at various times in the past.
- Orthodox Jews are less likely to identify as liberal and more likely to identify as conservative.
- Although the majority of Jews are Democratic and the majority are liberal, a minority, although a significant minority, identifies as both liberal and Democratic.
- Most Jewish organizations making statements on behalf of American Jews tend to speak from the liberal Democratic viewpoint, which does not seem to representthe majority of Jews.
- The percentage registered to vote is lower for Jews underage 35.
- Nationally, about one-third of Jews are politically active, but again the percentage is lower for those under age 35.
- In local studies, high percentages of American Jews have been to Israel.
- In local studies, emotional attachment to Israel is generally lower for younger Jews.
- Although Israel is an important reason for Jewishphilanthropic giving, most American Jews want to seemore philanthropic dollars stay in the American Jewish community than go to Israel.
- American Jews are well educated.
- American Jews are of high income.
- Only a small percentage of American Jews are Orthodox.
- American Jews are highly intermarried.
- Large percentages of American Jews are not formally part of the community.
Source: Dr. Ira M. Sheskin, Director of the Jewish Demography Project at the University of Miami