2010 Baltimore Jewish Community Study

Sponsor(s): The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore

Principal Investigator(s): Jacob B. Ukeles, Ron Miller

Study Dates: March 1, 2010 - June 20, 2010

Population Estimates:

An estimated 93,400 Jewish persons live in 42,500 Jewish households in the Greater Baltimore area. Including non-Jews, the total number of people living in these households is approximately 108,000.

Key Findings:

The Jewish population of Baltimore has been relatively stable, growing slightly, since the previous studies in 1985 and 1999.


  • In 1985, 87,000 Jewish persons lived in 36,000 Jewish households.


  • In 1999, an estimated 91,400 Jewish persons lived in 36,600 Jewish households.


  • Since the last study, the number of Jewish persons increased about 2%, the number of all people in Jewish households increased 16% [partially an empty-nester phenomenon as adult children moved out of their parents homes in areas like Owings Mills, and established their own households].

Newcomers: 10% of respondents in Baltimore Jewish households have moved to the community within the ten years prior to the survey; newcomers are disproportionately younger adults.


  • The stability of the Baltimore Jewish population is reflected in the low percentage - only 5% - who believe that they will move out of Baltimore in the coming few years.

Children under age 18 constitute 24% of all people living in Jewish households, while seniors 65 and older represent 19%.


  • However, the estimated number of Jewish seniors 85 and over has increased 160% from 1999 [1,500] to 2010 [3,900].


  • 5,700 Jewish seniors living alone in Greater Baltimore.


  • 2,100 Jewish seniors living alone do not have an adult child to help them or the adult child does not live in Greater Baltimore area.

Intermarriage rates are relatively low: 20% of couples are intermarried, compared to 17% in 1999.


  • Among non-Orthodox couples, the intermarriage rate is 27%; 42% of younger non-Orthodox (18-34) are intermarried.


  • Of approximately 26,000 minor children in Greater Baltimore, only 20% reside in intermarried Jewish households.


  • 30% of children in intermarried households are being raised as Jewish-only, another 18% as Jewish-and-something-else.


  • Almost all children ages 5-17 raised by two-born Jewish inmarried parents have had some Jewish education, compared to 28% of children in intermarried Jewish households; but, 43% of all children in intermarried households being raised as Jewish or Jewish and something else have had some Jewish education.

The percentage of Jewish households which report synagogue membership is 46%, slightly lower than the 52% rate reported in 1999, but given the increased number of Jewish households, the total number of synagogue member households has remained approximately the same.


  • Only 14% of intermarried couples reports synagogue membership.

Jewish denominational patterns in 2010 are quite different from 1999, reflecting an increase in the Orthodox, a decrease in Reform Jews, and relative stability among Conservative Jews.


  • In 1999, 36% of respondents identified as Reform Jews compared to 27% in 2010; in 1999, 33% identified as Conservative, compared to a similar 30% in 2010; Orthodox respondents accounted for 17% of 1999 and 20% of 2010 respondents.


  • In terms of the number of Jewish persons, however, Orthodox-respondent households account for 32% of all Greater Baltimore Jews, Conservative Jews 26% and Reform Jews 23%.


  • Newcomer respondents to Baltimore in the 10 years preceding the survey were Conservative 40%, Orthodox 29% and Reform 22%.

Financially, approximately one-in-three Jewish households reports it is either just managing financially or cannot make ends meet; single-parent and seniors-living-alone households are most at-risk economically.


  • 43% of all Greater Baltimore Jewish households reports negative consequences of the economic downturn: younger Jewish adults and respondents 50-64 were more likely to have been negatively impacted.


  • 12% of all Baltimore HH report that a member had sought assistance for a job or occupation in the year preceding the survey; 28% of those seeking assistance reported that getting help was "very difficult."


  • An estimated 5,200 Jewish Baltimore households can be classified as below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which are unrealistically low. Households fall below the 200% level if their household income is below: $22,000 for a one-person household, below $29,000 for a two-person HH, below $37,00 for a three-person HH and below $44,000 for a four-person HH.

75% of households report always/usually lighting Chanukah candles compared to 36% who light Shabbat candles; 76%% report always/usually attending a Passover Seder; in 65% of the households a member always/usually fasts on Yom Kippur; 26% of the HH report keeping kosher.

87% of Jewish households interviewed for the 2010 Study report contributions to charitable organizations; 63% report a Jewish contribution; 40% report an ASSOCIATED Federation donation.


  • In 1999, the comparable percentages were 91%, 70% and 53%.

Diversity within the Jewish community is reflected in many ways, including GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) Jews and multi-racial households. Just under 2% of the community's Jewish households include a GLBT household member; 8% of the Jewish households can be classified as multi-racial.


Adult Jewish Households in the Greater Baltimore Area - including Baltimore City, Baltimore County and a significant portion of Carroll County adjacent to Baltimore County.

Sample Size: 1,213 telephone interviews completed in Jewish households (at least one adult in the household considered self Jewish).

Sample Notes:

The sampling design used by Ukeles Associates, Inc. and its research partner, SSRS [Social Science Research Solutions, Media, PA] focused on three complementary, stratified random sampling frames within Greater Baltimore: (1) A landline based, unduplicated, Jewish community list of known households generated from the ASSOCIATED and other major Jewish organizations; (2) a landline based residual random digit dialing (RDD) frame, which included all possible telephone numbers in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Carroll County, after the List telephone numbers had been electronically purged; and (3) an RDD cell phone frame for the entire area.

Total number of separate telephone numbers called for the study was over 92,000, including over 22,000 within the cell phone frame alone.

Almost 10,000 households (over 8,300 non-Jewish and 1,587 Jewish households) completed the screening interview sufficiently so that their "Jewish" status could be determined.

Of the 1,213 survey respondents, 4% of all interviews completed [45] were with non-Jewish spouses who felt comfortable answering questions about their household's Jewish experiences; all UAI studies allow non-Jewish spouses in intermarried Jewish households to answer the survey if they wish, in order to maximize participation of intermarried couples.


  • Within the RDD frame, 11% of all completed interviews were with non-Jewish spouses.


  • On a weighted basis, interviews with non-Jewish spouses accounted for 42% of all completed interviews with intermarried couples.

Survey response rate was 46%.

Of identified Jewish households {1,587], 76% completed the interview.

Survey error estimate is +/- 6.5% for analyses using all 1,213 interviews from the 2010 Greater Baltimore Jewish Community Study (including sampling design and post-stratification effects).

Additional methodological details in report below by SSRS.

Study Notes:

The data are weighted to reflect estimates of Jewish households and Jewish persons in the Greater Baltimore area, as well as the total number of people living in Jewish households.

Unweighted numbers of interviews by frame: 906 ASSOCIATED and Jewish community lists, 49 residual DJN (distinctive Jewish names portion of published RDD names not on the Jewish community list, 142 residual RDD interviews, 116 cell phone interviews - including 65 from the Jewish community list and 51 RDD cell phone interviews.

Weighted household numbers - 42,500 total - 49% List-based interviews representing the households "known" within the Jewish community lists, 4% DJN-not on Jewish community list, 25% RDD-landlines and 22% cell-phone-only frame from the RDD interviews.

Data File weights have been copied and moved to bottom of file for convenience:


  • (1) HHWT_PostFinal - precise N=42,506


  • (2) JewWt_PostFinal - precise N=93,431


  • (3) PeopleWt_PostFinal - precise N = 108,093