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Assimilation, Natural Decrease, Cited As Causes for Decline of Jewish Population in USSR

An analysis of the latest Soviet census by the Institute of Jewish Affairs here disclosed that the Jewish population of the USSR has declined by 5.2 percent in the last 11 years. The analysis attributed the decline to assimilation, a desire to conceal Jewish identity and natural decrease, though it observed that these were only possible causes. The Jewish population of the Soviet Union in 1959 according to the census was 2,268,959, or one Jew to every 92 other Soviet citizens. In 1970, the Jewish population was down to 2,151,000 or one in 112. Discussing the possibility of natural decrease as a cause for the diminished Jewish population, the analyst, I. Milman, noted that “the possibility of natural decline is one facing many Jewish communities around the world, and particularly those like Soviet Jewry which suffered the demographic disaster of Nazi genocide.” Such communities lost an entire generation of children who would have been by now producing their own children. Milman continued. In the period covered by the census the total population of the Soviet Union increased by nearly 33 million to 241,720,000, an increase of 15,8 percent. Jews now form less than one percent of the total for the first time in two centuries, the analysis noted.

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