01 May 2013

Very Few Jews Remain In Europe (For Obvious Reasons)

From here for 2010.

The total is 13,428,300 which is subject to considerable adjustments based on the definition of "Jew" used to make the count.  This is about 0.2% of the world's population and this percentage is shrinking because the absolute number of Jews is growing at a rate of about half the rate of world population growth.  Notably, the Jewish population is growing in Israel (at a healthy 1.7% annual rate) while declining or flat everywhere else in the world (overall at a 0.2% annual rate).

The study looks at a "core" Jewish population consisting of people born Jewish, less people who cease to identify as Jewish as a conscious choice, plus people who are "Jews by choice" (such as spouses who convert). "Two countries, Israel and the United States, account for about 82 percent of the total, another 16 countries, each with more than 20,000 Jews, accounted for another 16 percent of the total, and another more than 75 countries each with Jewish populations below 20,000 accounted for the remaining 2 percent."  The U.S. and then Canada have the highest numbers of Jews per capita after Israel, followed by Australia, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Argentina.  About 10.8% of all Jews live in Europe.  Just only in seven Jews in the world lives in a country where English or Hebrew is not the national language.

It also bears noting that the distribution of Jews within the United States is not remotely homogeneous

For example, while only 1.7% of Americans are Jewish, in the New York metropolitan, the percentage is closer to 10-11%.  Only twenty metro areas in the world have more Jews than Denver (with about 83,900 Jews which is about 3.4% of the metropolitan area population), four of which are in Israel and five more of which are in other countries.  There are more Jews in metropolitan Denver than in the entire African continent, or in all of Asia (apart from Israel and Oceania). 

Jews are 0.5% or less of the state's population in twenty U.S. states by a definition that finds the total percentage in the U.S. to be 2.1% rather than the 1.7% estimated in the source for the chart above.  Mostly these states are rural states in the South (with the exception of Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Georgia and Texas), and the Moutain West (except Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico) and the Great Plains and Midwest(including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Oklahama).  Maine and Hawaii also have small Jewish populations.

More colloquially, a very large share of all Jews in the United States live within 30 miles of a profitable Amtrak line or intracity rail service.


Gabriella Kadar said...

There are many Europeans who are Jews but their parents and grandparents have kept this a secret from them. To wit: the Hungarian anti-Semitic political leader whose grandmother finally informed him that she spent time in Auschwitz and that he is a Jew. There an awful lot of younger generation Hungarians who may or may not discover over the course of their lives that they are actually Jews. With the anti-Semitism always bubbling up, many people have chosen to withhold information from their children.

No doubt in many other parts of the world, like in Brazil for example, due to anti-Semitism, children grow up not knowing of their backgrounds.

I think the population statistics include only those who identify themselves as being Jews.

andrew said...

If you have been raised as a Christian, never circumcized, never taught the Torah, never lived any element of your Jewish heritage, are you really, in any meaningful sense, a Jew?

The right definition of who is a Jew, like any other definition, depends upon the purpose to which you want to use the information gathered with that definition. I can't think of many purposes for which it is useful to include anyone with Jewish ancestry as a Jew, but I don't deny that there might be legitimate reasons for making such a distinction.