National Jewish Population Survey
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The National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS), most recently performed in 2000-01, is a representative survey of the Jewish population in the United States sponsored by United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Federation system.
Based on the results of the 2000-01 survey, the total Jewish population in the United States was estimated at 5.2 million, comprising 4.1 million adults and 1 million children. An additional 100,000 Jews in institutional settings were not sampled as part of NJPS but are included in the total. This total represents a decline from the 1990 NJPS, which estimated a total Jewish population of 5.5 million people. Jews who have married since 1996 have an intermarriage rate of 47%.
There is disagreement about how to define who is Jewish. As part of the 2000 NJPS, a Jew was defined as a person:
- Whose religion is Jewish, or
- Whose religion is Jewish and something else, or
- Who has no religion and has at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing, or
- Who has a non-monotheistic religion, and has at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing.
Unfortunately, there were no survey performed in 2010 due to the lack of funding. The 2000-01 NJPS – which by some estimates cost nearly $6 million, far more than budgeted – was widely criticized, both for its findings and for its methodology. United Jewish Communities, the survey’s sponsor, announced afterward that it would not sponsor future national population surveys.