America's Changing Religious Landscape: Pew 2014

Sponsor(s): Pew Research Center

Principal Investigator(s): Alan Cooperman, Greg Smith, Katherine Ritchey

Study Dates: June 4, 2014 to September 30, 2014

Population Estimates:

The Pew Research Center's 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study estimates that 1.9% of the approximately 245 million American adults are Jewish by religion, up from an estimate of 1.7% of 227 million American adults in the Center's earlier 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Study

Both estimates of the adult Jewish-by-religion population (JBRs) are based on an identically worded question: 

"What is your religion, if any? Are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or nothing in particular?"

Pew Research Center has also conducted a 2013 study of American Jews, published as A Portrait of Jewish Americans: Findings from a Pew Research Center Survey of U.S. Jews.  That study estimated that of the 5.3 million adults who are Jewish in a broader sense than the definition used in the Landscape series, approximately 4.2 million were Jews-by-religion, while another 1.1 million self defined themselves as Jewish, but NOT by religion (in addition, 1.3 million children were being raised as Jews) when additional questions about considering themselves to be Jewish were asked of those survey respondents who answered the religion question as "none" or "atheist," "agnostic," etc.

 In the 2014 report, the Jewish population estimate issue was addressed directly (page 28 of the first report).  

Pew Research Center’s 2013 report “A Portrait of Jewish Americans” includes detailed information on the size and characteristics of the Jewish population in the United States, including an estimate of the number of adults who identify with the Jewish faith (“Jews by religion”) as well as those who identify as culturally or ethnically Jewish but not religiously Jewish (“Jews of no religion”). The 2014 Religious Landscape Study analyzes only “Jews by religion.” The center’s 2013 survey of Jews and the 2014 Landscape Study produce similar estimates of the size of the “Jews by religion” population (1.8% in the survey of Jews, 1.9% in the Landscape Study). 

In addition, the report noted that among Jews-by-religion, denominational/movement identification patterns were similar.  Reform Jews represented 40% of the 2013 Portrait survey and 44% of the 2014 Landscape; Conservative Jews represented 22% of Jewish-by-religion adults in both studies; 12% of Jewish adults identified with Orthodox Judaism in 2013 compared to 14% in 2014. 

Please see the KEY FINDINGS below for a discussion of the 2014 Pew Research Center survey of American religious identity. This DataBank section focuses only on the Jewish population estimates component of the survey. 

Key Findings:

In 2014, the Pew Research Center completed a survey of religious identification among American adults, commissioning landline and cell phone interviews with 35,071 adults from June 4, 2014 through September 30, 2014.  

The first summary report of the 2014 survey's results. America's Changing Religious Landscape: Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow, was released on May 12, 2015.  In addition to documenting the decline of Christian-identifying adults and the increase in the number of Americans not identified with a religious group ("unaffiliated"), the first report extensively described the demographic characteristics of U.S. religious groups, including their median age, racial and ethnic makeup, nativity data, education and income levels, gender ratios, family composition, religious intermarriage rates, religion-switching, and geographic distribution.  Numerous comparative tables can be found in the text of the Landscape report as well as in topline results comparisons.

• The survey of America's religious landscape in 2014 was a followup to Pew's 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey which was based on a similarly massive survey of 35,556 American adults. The first report of the 2014 survey includes numerous comparative analyses of the results from 2007 and 2014 by religious grouping, focusing on demographic comparisons.

In November, 2015, Pew Research Center issued the second summary report on the 2014 Landscape survey: U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious: Modest Drop in Overall Rates of Belief and Practice, but Religiously Affiliated Americans are as Observant as Before.  This report looked at religious beliefs and practices, as well as social and political views by religious groupings for the U.S. adult population.  Comparisons to the 2007 survey also informed the 2014 religious-social-political beliefs analysis, when similar questions existed for both Pew Research Center surveys; once again, comparisons exist in both the report text and in topline results comparisons focused on second report variables.  

Finally, the 2014 data can be analyzed using an Interactive Tool which allows for almost unlimited exploration of the data, by religion, by topic, etc.  Data from both reports are available via the interactive tool.



35,071 American adults interviewed by cell phone and landline.

Number of interviewed Jewish-by-religion adults was 847. 

Sample Size: 35,071 American adults

Sample Notes:

In 2014, both cell phone and landline interviews were used for the analysis of America's religious identification patterns. Approximately 60% of the interviews were conducted with respondents reached on cellphones (n=21,160) and 40% were completed on landlines (n=13,911).

Data collection was divided equally among three research firms – Abt SRBI, Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS). Abt SRBI served as the lead research firm coordinating the data collection, providing the sampling plan and producing the survey weights. Both the landline and cellphone samples were provided by Marketing Systems Group (MSG).  

In 2007, only landline interviews were used for the survey,  The Pew researchers (pp. 98-99, America's Changing Religious Landscape report) noted that "...the 2007 survey was conducted only on landlines, whereas the 2014 study was conducted on landlines and cellphones. In 2007, roughly 14% of U.S. adults were cellphone-only (i.e.,reachable on a cellphone but not by a landline telephone), and landline-only surveys were still a
viable means by which to survey a nationally representative sample of the population. By 2014, it was no longer possible to conduct nationally representative surveys using only landlines, as the cellphone-only share of the population had grown to 43%." 

"Though the 2007 survey was conducted only on landlines, it also included an experimental component in which 500 cellphone-only respondents were interviewed, facilitating a comparison of the 2007 estimates both with and without cellphones included. That analysis showed that estimates of the religious composition of the U.S. were the same when cellphones were included and when they were not. As a result, this change in methodology is not expected to have a meaningful impact on the interpretation of trends between the 2007 and 2014 survey."


Study Notes:

Berman Jewish DataBank users are advised to carefully explore the Interactive Tool available for the 2014 Landscape survey, and to read the methodological appendix. 

Details on sampling, interviewing, weighting, etc., are summarized in accessible language for almost all DataBank users in the Landscape report's Appendix.

Note that in 2007, a maximum of 682 Jewish respondents were available for detailed analysis, while in 2014, there were a maximum of 847 Jewish-by-religion respondents.  All data in Topline results provides specific sample sizes on individual questions or analyses. 

Table on "religious intermarriage" (page 47 of America's Changing Religious Landscape) includes data on both married and "living with partner" respondents.  In this table, Jews occupy a middle position of 35% spouse/partner has different religion, compared to 9% of Hindu respondents, 18% of Mormons, 21% of Muslims, and at the other end of the spectrum, 61% of Buddhists, 47% of Orthodox Christians and 44% of unaffiliated-non religiously-identified respondents.

Note that in most analyses of Jewish intermarriage, only married couples are included. Rates of "intermarriage" are much higher among those living with a partner than among the married in most Jewish studies.


Language: English


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