Report Shows That Jewish Population of Greater NY Declined by an Estimated 383,000 Between 1962-71
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Report Shows That Jewish Population of Greater NY Declined by an Estimated 383,000 Between 1962-71

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The Jewish population of the Greater New York area declined by an estimated 383,000 between 1962 and 1970-71, a period in which there was a substantial shift of Jews from the city to the suburbs within that area, according to a report by the director of the National Jewish Population Study sponsored by the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. The Greater New York area is given in the report as the five boroughs of New York City, plus the Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The report by Dr. Fred Massarik appeared in the 1976 edition of the American Jewish Year Book, published by the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Publication Society of America. Dr. Massarik reported that the population of children under five, in the overall total of 1,998,000 current Jewish residents of Greater New York, also declined.

The 1975 edition of the Year Book did not contain a figure on the Jewish population of Greater New York because of a discrepancy between the findings of the CJF survey and the, estimate in the 1974 Year Book which was based on other methods of estimating Jewish population. The 1974 Year Book reported 2,381,000 Jews in the Greater New York area but the CJF survey indicated 400,000 less Jews, or 1,981,000, approximately the same total as the figure used by Dr, Massarik in the 1976 edition.

Alvin Chenkin, supervisor of the statistics unit of the CJF, who prepared the data for United States populations for the 1975 Year Book report, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency there were three possible explanations for the estimated Greater New York area decline of 383,000 Jews.


He said one was the possibility of Jewish migration out of the area and noted there had been in recent years a substantial increase in the number of Jews in the northern tier of counties in New Jersey. A second factor, he said, was the effect of the declining Jewish birthrate. The third, he said, was the fact that the original base figures of 1962 were based on a different approach than that of the CJF population study and to some degree not comparable.

Dr. Massarik declared that the movement to the suburbs resulted in a Jewish population total in the Nassau-Suffolk area of 605,000, which is larger than that of any of New York City’s five boroughs. Brooklyn’s Jewish population is now estimated at 514,000; Queens at 379,000, Manhattan at 171,000; the Bronx at 143,000 and Staten Island at 21,000. The Jewish population of Westchester is listed as 165,000.

He said that in the five counties of New York City there was a loss of 608,000 in Jewish population and a gain of 191,000 in Nassau-Suffolk and 34,000 in Westchester County. The total number of Jewish households in the Greater New York area in 720,000, with an average size of just under 2,8 persons. The size of Jewish house-holds in highest in Nassau-Suffolk, with 3,64 persons, followed by Westchester with 3,28.

Young children under five and children between five and 14 “constitute particularly large components of the total Jewish populations of the suburban areas, notably Westchester,” Dr. Massarik reported. “In Nassau-Suffolk, where the proportion of the very young is not exceptionally high, children in the five to 14 category are a major segment of the total population. At the other extreme, the presence of Jewish aged primarily in the Bronx, but also in Manhattan clearly exceeds that in all the other boroughs/counties.”


The proportion of gainfully-employed Jewish men and women is highest in Nassau-Suffolk and Westchester, followed by Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, Dr. Massarik reported. The highest figure for the percentage of Jewish women in the labor force is also in Nassau-Suffolk. He said the findings suggest that Nassau-Suffolk has proportionately the highest percentage of wage earners of both sexes, and that “the conventional pattern, with the male wage earner as the sole contributor to the family income, is most prevalent in Westchester. The Bronx has the lowest proportion of gainfully employed, if both men and women are considered.”

The findings indicated that the proportion of male students 16 to 22 is highest in Nassau-Suffolk at 17 percent, followed by Westchester with 11 percent and Queens with ten percent. Female student percentages are highest in Westchester with 14 percent, Nassau-Suffolk with 11 percent, and the Bronx with ten percent.

The number of retired Jewish men is low in the suburban counties at four percent but relatively high in the Bronx at nearly 30 percent. In all counties, the proportion of Jewish women who are housewives is between 40 and 50 percent.

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