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American Public Opinion Polls: Jewish Population Survey - College Students

(2000 - 2001)

Total Jewish Population Base (Age 18-29)

Age Group College Students (Undergraduates) Graduate Students Not currently in college/grad school
18-24 237,200 31,100 232,600
25-29 33,800 57,500 221,500
Total 271,000 88,600 454,100

Most American Jews, including college students, observe a number of important Jewish holidays and rituals.

  All U.S. Jews College Students
Light Chanukkah candles 72% 76%
Hold/attend Passover seder 67% 66%
Fast on Yom Kippur 59% 61%

Regarding Jewish religious denominations, college students are less likely than all U.S. Jews to identify as Conservative, and they are more likely to say they are secular or "just Jewish."

  All U.S. Jews College Students
Conservative 26% 17%
Orthodox 10% 10%
Reform 35% 35%
Secular 5% 10%
Just Jewish 20% 25%
Other 4% 4%

College students are less likely to have been to Israel, 1 sbout as likely to volunteer for a Jewish organization, and more likely to use the Internet for Jewish purposes.

  All U.S. Jews College Students
Ever been to Israel 35% 23%
Volunteered for Jewish organizations last year 25% 23%
Used Internet for Jewish purposes last year 39% 50%

1 The differences in rates of travel to Israel are likely due to age. College students, by virtue of being younger, have had less time to travel to Israel than other Jewish adults.

College students attend religious services less often than all U.S. Jews do, but the difference is modest.

  All U.S. Jews College Students
Do not attend 39% 44%
Less than once a month 38% 39%
Once a month or more 23% 17%

The same discrepancy between Jewish college students and all U.S. Jews is evident in these measures of attitudes toward Judaism and Jewish peoplehood.

  College Students All U.S. Jews
Religion very important in life 29% 31%
Strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people (strongly agree) 44% 59%
I have a clear sense of what being Jewish means to me (strongly agree) 62% 72%
Feel very positive about being Jewish 73% 78%

Jewish college students' have less intense feelings about Jewish peoplehood than all U.S. Jews.

  All U.S. Jews College Students
Very emotionally attached to Israel 20% 28%
U.S. and Jews elsewhere share common destiny 34% 39%
U.S. and Israeli Jews share common destiny 31% 37%
Special responsibility to take care of Jews in need 21% 31%
American Jews have a greater responsibility to rescue Jews than non-Jews in distress 19% 30%

Similiarly, college and all U.S. Jews are more likely to say they are politically liberal than either moderate or conservative.

  All U.S. Jews College Students
Liberal 56% 61%
Moderate 22% 18%
Conservative 22% 22%

College students and all U.S. Jews are more likely to identify as Democrats than as Republicans, independents, or something else.

  All U.S. Jews College Students
Democrat 54% 53%
Republican 14% 16%
Independent 22% 14%
Something else 10% 17%

Over one-quarter of Jewish college students reported they personally experienced anti-Semitism in the year before the survey, slightly more than all U.S. Jews.

  All U.S. Jews College Students
Experienced antisemitism 21% 26%

College students perceive slightly less anti-Semitism in the United States than all U.S. Jews do, but most Jews perceive a moderate or great deal of anti-Semitism.

  All U.S. Jews College Students
A great deal 34% 21%
Moderate amount 48% 58%
A little 18% 19%
Not at all 1% 3%

Nearly as many Jewish college students have one Jewish parent as have two Jewish parents.

Two Jewish parents 48%
One Jewish parent 45%
No Jewish parent 7%

Sources: 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey, United Jewish Communities