FAQ on American Jews - #2 Intermarriage

Sponsor(s): Berman Jewish DataBank@The Jewish Federations of North America

Principal Investigator(s): Ron Miller, Arnold Dashefsky, Ira M. Sheskin, Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz

Key Findings:

Updated February 18, 2015

The FAQ data series on American Jews is based upon comparative data initially compiled by Dr. Ira M. Sheskin for his Jewish community study reports and originally published by the Data Bank in 2001 as How Communities Differ: Variations in the Findings of Local Community Studies.   Drs. Miller, Sheskin, Dashefsky and Kotler-Berkowitz have revised  these tables for this online FAQ series, which is updated as new Jewish community studies are completed.

FAQ #2  - Table 2 organizes intermarriage data alphabetically by community, reporting (1) the percentage of currently married couples who are intermarried, and (2) the percentage of children with intermarried parents who are being raised as Jewish-only or as “partially Jewish” (sometimes designated as “Jewish and something else,” “part Jewish,” or “half Jewish”).

FAQ Table 2-a reorganizes the data from to provide a rank ordering of local communities from highest to lowest in terms of the estimated percentage of intermarried couples in order to facilitate comparisons among communities.

FAQ Table 2-b compares two different methods of calculating an intermarriage rate which are often confused, but are quite different:

(1) Intermarriage rates of couples (the “couples rate”) which answers the question: “What percentage of American Jewish couples are intermarried — one spouse is Jewish, while the other spouse is not Jewish?”
(2) Intermarriage rates of Jewish persons (the “individual rate”). The individual rate answers the question: “What is the percentage of married Jewish persons who are currently married to non-Jewish persons?”

 The mathematical calculations for these two measures always result in an individual intermarriage rate which is lower than the couples intermarriage rate (for the identical data).

FAQ-2 Table 2-c organizes data from the Jewish community studies in terms of the percentage of intermarried couples who are synagogue (or temple) members – in decreasing order from the highest to the lowest — and provides comparative data for in-married Jewish households.

Language: English