2010 Greater New Haven Jewish Community Population Study

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven

Principal Investigator(s): Ira M. Sheskin

Study Dates: May, 2010

Population Estimates:

23,000 Jewish persons live in 11,000 Jewish households.

Another 4,800 non-Jews also reside in these 11,000 Jewish households.

Key Findings:

This is the first Jewish population study of Greater New Haven which has included RDD (random digit dialing) telephone interviewing as the basis of Jewish household and Jewish population estimates.

The Jewish population of Greater New Haven may have declined by 2010, but the lack of a prior RDD study makes comparisons difficult.

A 1987 Study by Steven M. Cohen (available at Data Bank) estimated 28,000 Jews in 12,000 Jewish households, using an analysis of the Federation list and interviews with just under 400 DJN (distinctive Jewish names) households in Greater New Haven. Note that in 1987 the study's methodology was defined as "quick and dirty," and since it did not include any random digit dialing (RDD) to locate and interview households not on the Federation list or without a distinctive Jewish name, the 1987 estimate of 12,000 Jewish households was most likely an underestimate.

Using 2005 telephone records, Dr. Sheskin completed a DJN analysis which was designed to provide a more recent comparison for the 2010 results. Sheskin estimated 12,350 Jewish households in 2005 based on the analysis of the number of DJN households - interviewing was not included.

Dr. Sheskin believes that the 11% decrease in households suggested by the DJN methodology may overstate somewhat the actual decrease in Jewish households, although other data in the Report also indicate a likely decrease.

Greater New Haven is the second largest Jewish community in Connecticut; Hartford has an estimated 32,800 Jews.

One of three Jewish adults was born in New Haven, another 10% elsewhere in Connecticut, 26% in New York, and 10% in other New England states; 9% were born outside the U.S. (approximately half of these in the former Soviet Union).

Greater New Haven is an older Jewish community: 11% of adults in Jewish households are between 65 and 74, while 16% are at least 75.

Compared to ACS survey data [American Community Survey, Census Data from surveys] for New Haven County, the Jewish community appears to be considerably older: 27% of New Haven Jewish household members are seniors compared to 14% from ACS data.

Median age of the Jewish community is 52 compared to ACS estimate of 39 for the general population.Internally, the Jewish community's age structure is tilted to the older generation: 20% of household members are children while 27% are seniors.

Denominational identification: 30% of Jewish respondents identify as Conservative, another 30% identify as Reform Jews, 4% identify as Orthodox, 1% identify as Reconstructionist, and 35% identify as "Just Jewish."

36% of senior Jewish respondents identify as Conservative Jews.

Younger Jewish respondents are more likely than older Jewish respondents to identify as "Just Jewish."

Religious practice tends to follow American Jewish patterns: Passover Seders are always/usually attended by 76% of interviewed households, Chanukah candles lit by 75% (always/usually; Shabbat candles are always/usually lit by 20% of the Study area households; 15% report that they keep a kosher home.

43% of Jewish households report synagogue membership, including 43% of Jewish households where the respondent was 65 or older and 49% of households with children.14% of households are JCC members; reported participation in a JCC event in the year preceding the survey was 39%. One-of-three Jewish respondents reports that they never attend synagogue services; 24% attend on High Holidays, 20% a few times a year, and 25% at least monthly.

16% of New Haven Jewish respondents report that they feel "very much" a part of the New Haven Jewish community whole another 34% feel "somewhat" part of the community; "very much" part of the Jewish community answers were strongly related to household income and intermarriage status.

Intermarriage rate of couples is 34%, including 19% of couples where the respondents is 65 or older.

Intermarriage rate is 45% among respondents ages 35-49, 39% among those 50-64, 25% among those 65-75, and 13% among respondents 75 and older.43% of children in intermarried Jewish households are being raised Jewish-only, 22% partially Jewish, and 35% not Jewish.

17% of intermarried Jewish households report belonging to a synagogue, compared to 62% of inmarried couples.

Israel travel is reported by half of all Jewish households.

Israel travel is strongly linked to denomination: 88% of Orthodox, 65% of Conservative, 46% of Reform and 35% of Just Jewish households report travel to Israel.Only 26% of intermarried households report Israel travel. 23% of households with children report that a child 0-17 had traveled to Israel; where there was a teenage child (13-17), Israel travel was 28%.

Strong emotional attachment to Israel ("extremely"/"very" emotionally attached) among Jewish respondents is 47%; age is inconsistently related to Israel attachment: 35-49 year old respondents are the least emotionally attached Israel.

29% of survey respondents report that they perceive a moderate amount of anti-Semitism in New Haven; 7% report they sense a great deal of anti-Semitism.

14% of all Jewish respondents report they they personally experienced anti-Semitism in the New Haven area - 23% of Orthodox respondents.

Among households with a child ages 6-17, 14% of the households report that a child had experienced anti-Semitism at school, and another 3% experienced it outside of school.

Philanthropic donations by Jewish households reflect many national Jewish patterns:

89% of all households report some philanthropic donation. 54% of the households donate to both Jewish and non-Jewish causes, 6% to Jewish-only charities, and 29% to non-specifically-Jewish causes only.

37% of households report a Jewish Federation donation - but only 17% of households where the respondent is under age 50.

A relatively high 19% of Jewish households report that a member of the household is "health limited"; while the overall percentage of senior households reporting a health issue is only 21%, 38% of Jewish seniors living alone report they are "health limited" status [12% need daily assistance].

Among other social services needs: 15% need assistance coordinating services for the elderly or disabled; 10% need martial, family or personal counseling; 3% needed financial assistance; 12% of households with an adult 18-64 needed job assistance; and, 12% of households with children report a learning disability issue.

Among senior households, the greatest service needs are for in-home health care (15%) and transportation (12%).

Sample Size: Researchers completed a total of 833 interviews using an average 20 minute telephone interview.

Sample Notes:

Of the 833 completed interviews, 297 were conducted with Jewish households from the RDD (random digit dialing) sampling frame. An additional 536 interviews were completed from a distinctive Jewish name sampling frame.

Total of 30,000 numbers dialed a total of 52,000 times to complete the RDD interviews.

Weighted data files available via the Data Bank (SPSS Sav and SPSS Portable) have 833 cases and 793 variables.


Researchers should used "wf" as data file weight: "wf" reduced RDD interviews slightly for multiple telephone numbers, and also reflects adjustments by Dr. Sheskin so that the DJN interviews statistically resemble the RDD interviews.

Weight factor "wfhh" extrapolates data to estimated number of household in the Study area.

Cell phone calls were not made for the survey; 13.6% of all Connecticut households are cell phone only.


Since cell-phone-only households tend to be younger than landline-only and dual users, some caution should be used when interpreting age data on younger adults in the New Haven community,

Study Notes:

The Summary Report provides a detailed overview of the 2010 Study, while the two volume Main Report provides more detailed analyses, as well as comparisons on many variables to other Jewish communities.

The "Summary Slides" were used during one of the many presentations Dr. Sheskin made in the New Haven community in 2010.




Additional slide sets from 2010 summarizing other presentations have been zipped into one large file, since while some of the slides in each of the presentations may be unique, many of the slides within each presentation duplicate other presentations.

Slide sets "A" through "J" parallel chapters in the Main Report volumes.

Language: English