September 8, 2015

Orthodox Jews Will be Dominant Force in Kosher, Pew Study Shows

New York - It was in 2013 that The Pew Research Center found that Orthodox Jews comprise 10% of the 5.3 million Jewish adults (ages 18 and older) in the US. The Pew findings were in contrast to the Federation study which put the total Jewish population in the US at 5.3 million. Many other social scientists thought that it was an undercount of the Orthodox given the steady growth of that segment of the Jewish population and the fact that a significant number of the 1.3 million children may be Orthodox. The Pew study counted 5.3 million adults and 1.3 million Jews for a total of approximately 6.7 million Jews. So now Pew itself updated its findings on the Orthodox segment by saying “a survey is a snapshot in time that, by itself, cannot show growth in the size of a population. What the new report is showing, based on the same findings, is that Orthodox Jews are likely “growing, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the US Jewish community.”

If the kosher food market is any barometer, the number of Orthodox Jews who keep kosher is approaching 950,000 with some 350,000 other Jews keeping a kosher home. That does not include the “occasional Kosher Jews” or those Jews who keep kosher during the holidays or when they entertain. The Pew demographics are verified by shifts in the kosher market that is constantly tilting towards younger consumers. According to Pew, the median age of Orthodox adults (40 years old) is better than a decade younger than the median age of other Jewish adults (52). More than two-thirds of Orthodox adults are married (69%), compared with less than half of other Jewish adults (49%). The Orthodox get married younger and bear at least twice as many children as other Jews (4.1 vs. 1.7 children). The Orthodox are more likely than other Jews to have large families: almost half (48%) of child bearing Orthodox Jews have four or more children—a mere 9% of other Jewish parents have this size families. What all this adds up is many more mouths to feed kosher.