LONDON (JTA) — Britain’s Jewish population is becoming more concentrated, with nearly 60 percent of Jews living in London, new statistics show.
According to detailed figures from the 2011 census released this week, 90 percent of the country’s 263,000 Jews live in just 20 percent of its neighborhoods.
The most heavily Jewish area was the Orthodox suburb of Golders Green in northwest London, with 7,661 Jews, a growth of 35 percent since the last census in 2001.
“This concentration into relatively few places often gives rise to the perception that there is a greater Jewish presence in Britain than is actually the case," said David Graham of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. "Nationally, Jews comprise just 0.5 percent of the population, but at the local level that proportion rises to as much as 40 percent in some places.”
He noted that many of the areas that were growing fastest were haredi Orthodox neighborhoods in London and Manchester, buoyed by high birth rates. Another trend was for Jews to move away from “the crowded and congested” capital to the “greener, more spacious surroundings” of Greater London.
Partially as a result, some previously dominant areas such as Redbridge in northeast London were showing considerable decline, leaving some schools and synagogues struggling to fill places.
The full set of census data will continue to be released in stages throughout this year and in 2014 and will be used to inform planning in the community.