Intermarriage Among Jews in Canada Rises; Exceeds 12 Percent

The peril of intermarriage to the survival of the Jewish people in the Western world was spotlighted here by Louis Rosenberg, noted economist, in a statistical study of mixed marriages in Canada published by the research bureau of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

“Although the rate of intermarriage in Canada is far lower than among Jews in the United States, Britain or Australia, nevertheless about one out of eight marriages in which Jews take part is a mixed marriage. In other words, for every 88 marriages performed in Canada in 1953 in which both the brides and grooms were Jews, there were 12 marriages in which a Jewish girl married a non-Jew or, more likely, a Jewish man married a non-Jewish girl. Another fact now come to light is that out of all house holds with Jewish men or women at the head, some ten percent have a non-Jewish man or woman also at the head–intermarried households,” Mr. Rosenberg stated.

The intermarriage rate has risen in Canada from less than 5% in 1926-30 to over 12% in 1953. The rate has been growing steadily except for a drop in the period 1944-45, but after that date the increase resumed and by 1952 had again reached the previous peak of 11.1% marked in 1944. Jewish men figure in intermarriage more than twice as often as Jewish women.

The figures indicate that intermarriages are less frequent in urban centers where educational, social and recreational services are provided by the Jewish communities than in smaller centers where there are fewer such facilities and where social contacts between Jews and non-Jews are more frequent “The rate of intermarriage is a function of the acculturation of the Jewish citizens with the other residents of the community,” Mr. Rosenberg pointed out.

The Jewish communities of Montreal and Toronto are very much alike in structure, yet the rate of intermarriage in Montreal is very much lower than for Toronto and is about half of the rate of the country as a whole. This variation is doubtless due to existence of the French Canadian community with a totally different relationship between ethnic groups, Mr. Rosenberg explained.

The study was made possible, according to Mr. Rosenberg, because the Canadian Government makes available a wealth of demographic statistics on the ethnic origin and on the religion of Canadians. The Dominion census is the only national census in the world which provides such a breakdown.

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