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The National Jewish Population Survey 2000

Reader comment on item: The Orthodox Future of Judaism

Submitted by Tom Timmons (United States), Jan 25, 2005 at 11:49

Please, please, please, pay attention to what the survey people have been saying. "Do not compare the numbers in this survey with prior surveys: the questions have changed." There was not a large drop in the Jewish population between 1990 and 2000. The survey changed who they considered Jewish. In prior surveys, it was a self classification. In the 2000 survey, unless you had a Jewish parent or converted, you were not counted. If you practiced some other religion, you were not counted. Makes sense, but in the self classification of prior surveys, many of those people were included.

Further, in the 2000 survey, they included questions on both affiliation and on membership, with vastly different results. On affiliation, they added a new category: just Jewish. Allowing for the new category, the affiliation numbers were very similar to prior surveys, even with the more restrictive definition of who to count. The membership question is what made it look like there was a sudden jump in the number of Orthodox.

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