Louisville 1991 Demographic and Attitudinal Survey

Sponsor(s): Jewish Community Federation of Louisville, KY

Principal Investigator(s): Gary A Tobin, Gabriel Berger

Population Estimates: The Jewish household population of Louisville is estimated to be 8,500, living in an estimated 3,400 Jewish households; an additional 200 Jews are estimated to be living in group or institutionalized settings.
Key Findings: Data highlights include:

  • Average household size is estimated to be 2.5;
  • Children represent 22% of all people living in Jewish households, while 19% are age 65 or older;

  • 69% of adults 18 and over are married, 7% are divorced or separated, 12% are widowed, and 12% have never been married;

  • 91% are native-born; more than half were born in Kentucky; 19% of residents have moved to Louisville since 1980.
  • Geographic concentration is notable; 67% of all Jewish households live in 5 zip codes.

  • 40% of survey respondents identify as Reform Jews, 38% as Conservative Jews, 14% Orthodox, and 8% identify as Just Jewish (or something else);

  • Survey data on Jewish connections reflect the strong List basis of the interviewed sample: more than three -out-of-four are synagogue affiliated, four-out-of-five always attend a Passover Seder, three-out-of-four light Hanukkah candles, and two-thirds fast on Yom Kippur.

  • Intermarriage rates are exceptionally low (also probably reflecting the List-dominated sample); only 5% of married couples are intermarried. 87% of married couples are inmarried Jews, and another 7% of the couples are conversionary inmarried couples where the non-Jewish born spouse has converted.

  • Data on philanthropic donation patterns are supplemented by detailed qualitative analyzes from the focus groups.

Sample: Adult Jewish households in the Greater Louisville area. The Jewish "population" estimate more than likely includes non-Jewish spouses married to Jewish partners, and children who may not be being raised as Jews.

Sample Size: 427 Jewish Households completed a telephone interview between December 1990 to February 1991.

Sample Notes: Two sampling frames were used in the 1991 Study: (1) The Federation List sampling frame, from which approximately 960 phone numbers were randomly selected, and (2) a DJN - Distinctive Jewish Name - sampling frame of approximately 400 phone numbers from the phone book with DJNs, which were not part of the Jewish Federation list (all numbers included).

Sampling disposition details summarized in the Report. Of the total of 1,360 numbers, 299 were non-working numbers, or no contact was obtained after ten attempts. From the 1,061 numbers eligible for the screening stage, responses to the screening questions used to ascertain presence of a Jewish person in the household were obtained from 817 units, an exceptionally high 77% response rate.

A sample of 556 households were identified with with at least one Jewish person. Interviews were completed with 427 households.

The sampling design called for oversampling of households with members 65 years of age or older in order to have sufficient numbers for analysis. Survey data were weighted to reflect the real proportion of these households in the Jewish community.

Drs. Tobin and Berger discuss issues of sampling error and the difficulties in estimating Jewish household and population size in low incidence Jewish communities. The sampling design is presented as not being a probability sample in a "strict sense."

The population figure for Jews living in residential settings was obtained by estimating: 1) the number of Jewish households in the current Federation list, after taking into account non-working numbers, movers, and non-Jews in the list; 2) the number of Jewish households listed in the phone book with DJNs, but not included in the Federation list; and 3) the number of Jewish households without DJNs. which are not included in the Federation List. [NOTE: no details on estimation assumptions for the third group of Jewish households.]

The Report indicates that the data are weighted to adjust for different sampling methodologies, and to project to Jewish population estimates.

No data file is currently available.

Study Notes: The 1991 Report also includes data from 10 focus groups completed for the study: four on the needs of the elderly, two on Jewish education needs, and four on funding and volunteerism. Qualitative data from the focus groups were used along with the survey data to develop a series of Policy Recommendations for the Louisville Jewish community.


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