September 18, 2017

Dramatic Shifts in Jewish Population Bode Well for Future of Kosher

“In the next 20-40 years, we will witness dramatic changes in the American Jewish population. The changes won’t be in overall size, but in how many Jews are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and nondenominational.” This was the conclusion of a recent study of the Jewish community by researchers Steven M. Cohen, Mickey Gussow, and Edieal Pinker. The study was particularly encouraging to the kosher community as the study noted that “in 40 years, far fewer Jews will identify as Conservative and Reform, and far more will identify as Orthodox.” While many Conservative and Reform Jews eat kosher, particularly on Passover and other Jewish holidays, it is the Orthodox that are the most loyal kosher consumers with a “total kosher lifestyle,” observed on industry veteran. The sharply declining number of Jews age 30-69 is the most important data revealed by the study since they are considered the primary group of kosher consumers.

Amongst Conservative and Reform Jews, the number of 30-39 year olds amounts to just about half the number of the 60-69 year olds. If current trends continue, in 30 years, there will be about half as many Conservative and Reform Jews age 60-69 as there are today. For Jews in Conservative and Reform homes, there are 570,000 people in their 60s, but just 320,000 kids. This is markedly different from the Orthodox. While just 40,000 are in their 60s, triple that number – 120,000 – is in their 30s. There are 230,000 kids aged 0-9, over five times the number of people in their 60s. Only the Orthodox are having enough children to fuel population growth,” the study concludes. The study confirms that the shifts in demographics amongst Jews has not in the end effected kosher as it is more than replacing “dropouts” and diminishing numbers amongst certain Jewish groups. From the study, it appears that kosher will continue on its course of steep growth.