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Two studies put U.S. Jewish census at up to 6.6 million

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(JTA) — More than 6 million Jews are living in the United States, according to two independent studies.

The two studies, using completely different methodology, discovered between 6.4 million and 6.6 million U.S. Jews, or about 1.8 percent of the population, the Forward reported.

The figure is some 20 percent higher than the 5.2 million reported by the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America, a study that was found to be faulty and said to have undercounted the Jewish population.

A study by Ira Sheskin, a human geographer at the University of Miami, and Arnold Dashefsky, a sociologist at the University of Connecticut, for the North American Jewish Data Bank at the University of Connecticut reported on Dec. 18 that the correct figure is 6,588,000.

A study released on Dec. 23 by Leonard Saxe, a Brandeis University sociologist, put the number of U.S. Jews at 6.4 million. 

The studies are important indicators of the size of the U.S. Jewish population, because the once-a-decade National Jewish Population Survey was not conducted this year after the Jewish Federations declined to underwrite the survey.

A spokesman for the Jewish Federations told JTA that the umbrella group is in preliminary discussions about underwriting another national study.

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