The Greater Providence Jewish Community 1963

Sponsor(s): General Jewish Committee of Providence

Principal Investigator(s): Sidney Goldstein

Study Dates: May - June 1963

Population Estimates:

The Jewish population of Greater Providence in May-June, 1963 was estimated to be approximately 19,600 Jews in almost 6,000 Jewish households.  In 1951, Jewish population estimates were 19,700 Jews in 6,000 Jewish households.

• The Greater Providence area included the urban centers of Providence and Pawtucket and the suburban towns and cities of Cranston, Warwick, East Providence, Barrington, Bristol, and Warren on the east side of the Bay.

Table 1 summarized data on Jewish persons and Jewish households by geographic sub-area for 1963.

• Over 11,000 Jewish persons (57% of the area total) lived in the city of Providence itself, and an additional 2,400 Jews (12% of area total) lived in Pawtucket.

• The largest suburban community was Cranston, which contained almost 4,000 Jews or one-fifth of those living in Greater Providence.

• The Warwick - East Greenwich area contained almost 1,600 Jewish persons -- eight percent of the total.

• The Barrington, East Providence, Bristol, and Warren area accounted for only 2.5 percent (500 Jewish individuals) of the total Jewish population.

Population Stability and Change 1951 to 1963

From 1951 to 1963, the proportion of Jews residing in Providence declined from about 80% to about 57%, paralleling general population trends in Greater Providence where the proportion of all residents living in Providence was 48% in 1951 compared to 36% in 1963. 

• Suburban growth was considerable (see Tables 2 and 3 for details). 

• Cranston, for example, grew from 8% of the total Jewish population in 1951 to 20% by 1963. 

• As Professor Goldstein concluded: "Quite clearly, the Jews participated in the very strong suburban movement which characterized the Providence Metropolitan Area during this period. Yet, while this very significant reshuffling of population was taking place, only minimal changes occurred in the total population of the entire area."


A total of 1,420 interviews were completed for the study via face-to-face interviews by over 200 volunteers supervised by over 20 "captains" under the overall supervision of the study's authors and research staff.   Based on an initial sample of 1, 603 households, of which 47 were ineligible, 91% of the eligible 1,556 Jewish households completed the survey.

Please note that the 1,420 interviews represent one-quarter of the total number of estimated Jewish households in Greater Providence.

Sample Size: 1,420

Sample Notes:

Details on sample selection, random sample interviewing and general methodological design are described on pages 4ff. of the 1963 report. The data presented support the contention that using a master list of Jewish households maintained by the General Jewish Committee of Greater Providence was sufficient to provide an excellent study of the Greater Providence area without needing a random area-probability sample; a number of checks on the sampling frames exhaustiveness are described in this section.

Language: English


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