U.S. Jewish Population Grows by 89,000 in 1984, Florida Registers Largest Increase
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U.S. Jewish Population Grows by 89,000 in 1984, Florida Registers Largest Increase

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The Jewish population in the United States in 1984 was estimated to be 5.817 million, an increase of 89,000 over the year prior, according to statistics released here in the 1985 American Jewish Year Book, published by the American Jewish Committee.

Florida, according to the Year Book, registered the largest gain in Jewish population during the last year, substantially leading other sunbelt states marking increases.

Florida’s gain of nearly 80,000 Jews pushed its statewide total to 558,820 giving it the third largest concentration of Jews — 5.2 percent — in the nation, led only by New York with 1,879,955–10.6 percent — and New Jersey with 433,475 — 5.8 percent. Florida is also the third most populous Jewish state in the U.S. after New York and California.


Other states listing significant gains were primarily in the Southwest: Arizona, 53,285, up 4,000; Colorado, 44,365, up almost 3,000; and Texas, 78,470, rising by over 1,000.

In the Southeast, Georgia’s Jewish population rose by 1,300 to 42,155. Other Southern states meanwhile showed slight drops, including Alabama, Louisiana, and North Carolina and South Carolina. In the Far West, Oregon recorded some population loss while California’s Jewish population was up slightly from the year before, at 792,515.

Pennsylvania followed fifth in Jewish population at 412,210, succeeded by Illinois at 261,320; Massachusetts, 248,395; Maryland, 199,415; Ohio, 140,435; and Connecticut, at 107,575.


According to the Year Book article — “Recent Jewish Community Population Studies: A Roundup” — written by Gary Tobin and Alvin Chenkin, all cities studied, with the exception of Cleveland, reported a smaller mean household size than the 2.8 figure recorded by the National Jewish Population Study in 1970. Denver, Los Angeles, and Miami showed the least number of Jews per family, with 2.2 members.

According to the article, St. Louis households reported the biggest annual incomes, with 43 percent earning more than $40,000 annually. New York City’s Jewish families showed the next largest incomes, with 33 percent earning over $40,000 yearly. Approximately one-third of Jewish households in Denver reported incomes of more than $40,000.

“On the other hand,” the authors wrote “in every community except Washington, D.C., at least ten percent of the population have household incomes under $10,000, and many report incomes under $5,000.” According to the authors, Los Angeles had the most households — 21 percent of the community — with earnings of less than $10,000.

According to the study, cities showed a substantial variation in the denominational affiliations of their Jewish residents. St. Louis and Milwaukee reported a larger percentage of Reform Jews — 52 percent — than other denominations. Conservatives comprised the majority of Jews in Minneapolis – St. Paul. Seattle reported the largest concentration of Orthodox Jews, at 15 percent.

The 1985 Year Book includes directories of national Jewish organizations, periodicals and calendars and obituary notices. The editors are Milton Himmelfarb and David Singer.

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