The 2008 Berkshires Community Survey for the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation of the Berkshires

Principal Investigator(s): Daniel Parmer

Study Dates: 2008

Population Estimates: 4,300 Jewish persons are estimated to be living full-time in the Berkshires

  • Another 2,750 Jewish persons are part-time residents.
  • Key Findings: This is the first survey of the Jewish Population of the Berkshires, including the cities of Pittsfield, North Adams and Lenox.

    Survey findings are organized by full-time or part-time status of the respondents. A wide range of topics are covered in the report; only a few are highlighted below.

    • 57% of respondents reside in the Berkshires full-time.

    • 49% of full-time residents reside in the Southern Berkshire area, 37% reside in the Central Berkshires, and 14% in the Northern Berkshire area. Part-time residents (82%) are heavily concentrated in the Southern Berkshires.

    • 30% of full-time residents are intermarried, compared to only 10% of part-time residents.

    • Approximately 14% of full-time respondents age 55 and over indicated that their financial status was "poor or near poor" or they were "just getting along" - in contrast, only 4% of 55+ part-time residents indicated that they were "just getting along."

    • Denominational identification is similar for part-time and full-time residents.
      • Full-time respondents: 42% Reform Jews, 28% Conservative, 7% Reconstructionist, 6% Secular/cultural and 3% no religion, 11% "Just Jewish" and less than 1% Orthodox.

      • Part-time residents: 46% Reform, 33% Conservative, 5% Reconstructionist, 5% Secular/cultural plus 2% no religion, 6% Just Jewish.
    Sample: Non-RDD based survey utilized Federation list of Jewish households and individuals, and a list of households/potential respondents with ethnic Jewish names.

  • The Berkshires are a major resort area in western Massachusetts in both the summer and the winter.
  • Sample Size: Total of 720 survey respondents; data often presented in terms of total number of individuals living in the households.

    Sample Notes: 490 interviews conducted with full-time residents; 230 with part-time residents.

    Survey interviewing was conducted by staff at the Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) at Brandeis University.

    • The survey sampling frame was based upon an unduplicated combination of household telephone numbers and email addresses (when available) from the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, and addresses of households/individuals with ethnic Jewish names.

    • A combination of telephone interviews and internet/email questionnaire completion was used for data collection, supplemented by a short mail questionnaire for those households which did not respond to the telephone or Internet survey.

    • Response rate estimated to be 42% (AAPOR RR2)

    • Appendix has additional details.
    Study Notes: Study was conducted in 2008; report issued 2009.

    At the time the report was issued in 2009, Daniel Parmer was a Mandell L. Berman Steinhardt Social Research Institute Fellow at Brandeis University.

    Materials available from the Study include: (a) Final Report, (b) Slide Show presentation by Daniel Parmer to a Rabbi and Presidents meeting on March 5, 2009, (c) CATI instrument for telephone interviewing and (d) Mail Questionnaire sent to households which did not respond to either Internet questionnaire or telephone survey.


    Survey Reports

    » Main Report

    Slide Sets

    » Slide Set

    Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

    » Questionnaire - Mail

    » Questionnaire

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