US Jews getting younger on average, massive religions survey finds


(JTA) — The median age of American Jews has dropped from 52 to 48 since 2013, according to a massive survey of Americans and religion, making Jews one of only two religious groups to grow younger on average.

Every other religious grouping except for mainline Protestants tended to age during the same period, although a number remained on average younger than Jews.

The median age for all Americans was 47, the survey found.

The Public Religion Research Institute survey, published Thursday, was based on interviews with close to 500,000 people from 2013 until now.

The survey, which said Jews comprise 1% of the population, also found, unsurprisingly, that Jews “are primarily concentrated in the Northeast and areas around New York City.” A majority of Jews, 51%, live in suburban areas, 40% live in urban areas and just 8% live in rural areas.

Politically, 44% of Jews identify as Democrats, 31% identify as Independent and 22% as Republican.

Among counties, the highest concentration of Jews, 18%, was in Rockland County, New York, which has a large haredi Orthodox population; the same county was also seventh among the 10 most religiously diverse counties in the country. The counties with the 10 highest concentrations of Jews included six in New York, two in New Jersey and one each in Florida and Maryland.

Jews were one of three groupings among which a majority had college degrees: 58% of Jews, 59% of Unitarian Universalists and 67% of Hindus had degrees.

The report’s findings on age largely align with an earlier study this year by the Pew Research Center, which put the median age for Jews at 49. The Pew study also found that Orthodox Jews had a younger median age (35) than Conservative (62) and Reform Jews (53).

The report’s major takeaway is that a precipitous drop in recent decades among white Christians has stabilized, and the grouping seems settled at about 44% of the country. More than 80% of Americans identified as white Christians in 1976, NPR reported, and that proportion was at two-thirds in 1996. The number dropped below 50% in 2012 and was as low as 42% in 2018.

Recommended from JTA