Study Tracks Growth, Affiliation of Atlanta’s Jewish Community

The study reveals important aspects of the community as Jewish institutions try to keep pace with the population’s needs. Among the findings are: Ranking:

Since 1996, Atlanta has jumped from the 17th- to the 11th-largest Jewish community in the United States. America.

Composition:

Children under 18 represent one-fourth of the community; those 65 and older represent 12 percent. Nearly 20 percent of respondents were born in Georgia; of those born elsewhere, 30 percent were born in New York.

More than 31 percent of the community, or 19,000 Jewish households, have moved to Atlanta since 1996. Still, 46 percent of respondents either were born in Atlanta or have lived there at least 20 years.

Marriage and Children:

Half of those married are intermarried, up from 37 percent in 1996. Their children number more than 15,000, making up 41 percent of the population under age 18.

In intermarried families, 39 percent of children are being raised Jewish and 28 percent are being raised in another faith.

Roughly 25 percent of children ages 6 to 17 that are raised Jewish have had no formal Jewish education. Among intermarried households, 67 percent of those raised Jewish have had no Jewish education

Identity and Affiliation:

Some 33 percent of households belong to a Jewish congregation, down from 37 percent in 1996. Only 20 percent of those who moved to the city in the last 10 years belong to a synagogue. Congregation members are twice as likely as non-members to attend a Jewish cultural event.

Only 19 percent of respondents feel closely connected to the Jewish community. Of those who moved here in the past decade, only 11 percent feel closely connected.

Philanthropy and Israel:

Some 93 percent of Jewish households donate to charity. Nearly 50 percent give to Jewish causes, and 25 percent donate to the Jewish federation.

Among Jewish households earning at least $100,000, 41 percent made no contribution to a Jewish group.

Some 40 percent of respondents have visited Israel, and 40 percent also say they’re very emotionally attached to the Jewish state.

In addition, 91 percent of respondents agree that Jews have a special responsibility to care for Jews around the world. In the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey, 71 percent of respondents agreed with that point.

The survey was conducted among 1,000 people and has a 5 percent margin of error, with error rates as large as 20 percent among subcategories.

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