- -Official Statistics Prior to the 19th century, statistical data on Jews were obtained irregularly, either from mere estimates, or as a by-product from administrative records specifically relating to Jews. As modern official statistics developed in Europe and American countries during the 19th century, they began to provide some statistical information on Jewish inhabitants. But enumeration of the number of Jews in some European countries, before the latter part of the 19th century, is considered to be incomplete. The growth of official statistics in general, and statistics on Jews in particular, was a gradual process. During the 20th century, official statistics on the number of Jews in the general population have been compiled in some Asian and African countries. The most favorable conditions for statistical information on Jews from official sources prevailed in the first decades of the 20th century until World War II. The majority of Jews were then living in countries – especially in Eastern and Central Europe – that rather regularly collected and published vital and migratory statistics, in addition to census data on Jews as a distinct group within the general population. These data not only supplied the overall numbers of the Jewish populations but also reflected their composition and demographic patterns. The Jews were distinguished in three ways: by religion, by ethnic group (termed "nationality" in Eastern Europe), and by language, i.e., according to the use of Yiddish or Ladino. Sometimes all three criteria were used concurrently by the same country. During the Nazi ascendancy, some countries made counts of persons of "Jewish descent." The wide-ranging changes in the period after World War II also affected the quantity and quality of statistics on Jews. On the one hand, the State of Israel has provided competent and detailed statistics on both its Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants, and on the other hand, there has been a great reduction in the volume of official statistics on Diaspora Jewries. The Holocaust and subsequent migrations diminished the numerical importance of the Jews in Eastern and Central Europe. In addition, the policy of the new Communist regimes in that part of the world was to discontinue religious and, in some countries, ethnic, classification in official statistics. In the West, when religious information is not collected, this is attributed to "separation of church and state." Nevertheless, some liberal and democratic Western countries have developed a tradition of either distinguishing or not distinguishing religious groups in their official statistics (e.g., Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland differentiate; the U.S., Belgium, and France do not). A new circumstance which, in recent decades, has complicated the collection of data on Jews, is the increased number of "marginal" Jews who are apt to conceal their Jewish identity and indicate on statistical returns that they are "without religion." At present about 70% of Diaspora Jewry, i.e., more than 50% of world Jewry, live in countries without regular official statistics on Jews. Even where such inquiries are made in Diaspora countries, the information published on the composition of the Jewish population is usually meager, often no more than a geographical breakdown cross-classified by sex. The situation in the major countries of Jewish residence in the Diaspora is as follows: the U.S., which has the largest Jewish population of any country, does not distinguish Jews in its decennial population census. Some figures on the number and residential distribution of the Jews were obtained by a "census of religious bodies," but this was last taken in 1936. The separate classification of Jews in U.S. immigration statistics was discontinued in 1943. There are no official vital statistics on religious groups in the U.S. (except for marriage and divorce data collected in two states). After World War II the U.S.S.R., another major center of Jewish population, had two population censuses, in 1959 and 1970. The published results distinguished Jews as well as the many other ethnic groups in the Soviet Union. The number of Jews in the U.S.S.R. recorded by the censuses was contested by Jewish circles as being too low. However, it should be remembered that there were conceptual and practical problems of identification of Jews in the U.S.S.R. In any case, no reliable means exist for making alternative estimates because there is no statistical information on the manifold changes in the Jewish population which took place during and since the Holocaust on the territory of the U.S.S.R. (which was enlarged after World War II). In France and Great Britain there are virtually no official statistics on Jews, and those in Argentina are scanty. Of the Diaspora countries with several hundred thousand Jews after World War II, Canada has had the most detailed official statistics on Jews. But even in this case, conceptual difficulties affected the results of the 1951 and 1961 censuses, relevant vital statistics on Jews no longer extend to all provinces, and the separate designation of Jews was recently omitted from the immigration statistics. Jewish institutions in several countries made successful efforts to use, as they became available, the electronically processed material of official statistics for preparing special tabulations on Jews in response to Jewish initiatives. -Jewish-Sponsored Data Collection In countries where there are no official statistics on the Jewish population, the only practical way to obtain any numerical information about it is through Jewish-sponsored data collection. The customary method, local community surveys, has been used sporadically over the last few decades, especially in the U.S. In the case of large Jewish groups, these surveys are necessarily sample studies. Many improvements have been incorporated in the technique of some Jewish surveys to make them more sophisticated. However, isolated community surveys have essential shortcomings, e.g., the local focus, the differences in content and method between the various studies, and the fact that they are conducted at different times even within the same country. Hence their usefulness for countrywide or larger statistical syntheses is very limited. "Marginal" Jews who have little desire to identify themselves as Jews and who have few or no organizational ties with the Jewish community are now not few in number in many Diaspora countries. While official statistics may not adequately identify individuals in the general population as Jews, Jewish-sponsored surveys have difficulty in reaching the total number of Jews in a community. In the collection of demographic data the concept "Jewish" should be construed in the widest sense. But in the tabulations various categories within the Jewish population should be distinguished according to attachment to Jewish practices, mixed marriages, etc. At any rate, the customary "master list," i.e., the combined information on Jews from various institutional and organizational records, is often insufficient as the sole source for surveying a Jewish population. Another field of Jewish-sponsored statistical activity is the collection of vital statistics. These, however, often reflect only those activities which take place under the auspices of Jewish religious institutions, e.g., synagogue marriages, circumcisions, and burials with religious ceremonies. But the marriages, births, and deaths of Jews which are not accompanied by religious ceremonies are unrecorded in the statistics of Jewish institutions. The increasing assimilation and secularization of Diaspora Jews, and the consequent absence of "marginal" Jews from the data collected by Jewish institutions, are apt to vitiate the data's demographic value. In some Diaspora countries, interested organizations make counts of Jewish immigrants who have received assistance as well as estimates of the total number of Jewish immigrants. Sociological and socio-psychological investigations which supply data on Jews have only limited demographic value because their subjects are often unrepresentative of the entire Jewish population or their figures are too small. In a few European countries where the Jewish communities are recognized by public law, permanent population registers are kept by the community. From the 1960s, the Institute of Contemporary Jewry of The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, designed a new and more efficient type of Jewish-sponsored population survey. These surveys inquired into demographic, economic, and social characteristics as well as aspects of Jewish identity, and permitted many cross-tabulations of population characteristics. They were preferably on a countrywide basis, with improvements in sampling technique and especially designed to include "marginal" Jews. The first survey of this type was taken in Italy in 1965. Better information on Jewish vital statistics is also partially obtainable from population surveys. Jewish-sponsored surveys are not only substitutes for nonexistent governmental statistics on Jews but are, in fact, the only means of investigating aspects of Jewish identity. Jewish-sponsored data collection on topics other than population statistics usually relates to the working of Jewish institutions and organizations, international, national, and local. In general, the data are collected within the framework of the respective agencies themselves. -Research Activities The copious statistical material on Jews which accumulated before World War II encouraged scholars and others to compile comparative statistics of various countries, and to analyze the available data in detail. Among the major contributors to the field of Jewish demographic research have been A. Nossig and J. Jacobs , toward the end of the 19th century; and in the 20th century, A. Ruppin , J. Thon , B. Blau , J. Segall, F. Theilhaber, I. Koralnik, L. Hersch , J. Lestschinsky , H.S. Linfield, A. Tartakower , and R. Bachi . Important centers for demographic and statistical research on the Jews were the Bureau fuer Statistik der Juden (Berlin) and yivo . Periodicals of importance in this field were Zeitschrift fuer Demographie und Statistik der Juden; Bleter far Yidishe Demografye, Statistik un Ekonomik; and Shriftn far Ekonomik un Statistik. The period after World War II has seen not only the diminution of official data on Jews, but also the passing of the previous generation of scholars in Jewish statistics. The present scholarly emphasis in Jewish population statistics has partially shifted, of necessity, from the analysis and comparison of available data to the methodology and promotion of data collection. Several Jewish research institutions have been engaged primarily in statistical and demographic work on a local and national level: the Bureau of Social and Economic Research of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Montreal; the Statistical and Demographic Research Unit of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, London; and Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales of the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), Buenos Aires. Some permanent institutions for social and historical research on the Jews which have given part of their attention to statistical and demographic matters are: Centre National des Hautes Etudes Juives, Brussels; Communauté, Paris; Oficina Latinoamericana of the American Jewish Committee and Centro de Estudios Sociales of the Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA), Buenos Aires; and the Jewish Museum of the Czech State, Prague. In some cases, scholars have carried out ad hoc demographic and social surveys of local Jewish populations at the invitation of the community leadership. There are many such instances in the U.S., the most notable through to the mid-1960s being the surveys taken in Washington (1956), Los Angeles (1959 and 1965), Providence (1963), Camden Area (1964), Boston (1965), and Springfield (1966). Elsewhere, local surveys were taken in recent years in São Paulo (Brazil); Melbourne (Australia); Leeds and Edgware (England); Brussels (Belgium); and Wroclaw (Poland). For Dutch Jewry, a survey based on records only, without home visits, was made in 1954; a similar survey of Dutch Jewry took place in 1966. Counts based on community population registers are available for the Jews in Vienna, Austria, in the German Federal Republic, and to some extent in Italy and the Netherlands. Additional countrywide sample surveys of Jewish populations were planned for the U.S., France, and other countries (in the U.S. under the auspices of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds). Israel has a very active Central Bureau of Statistics (headed by R. Bachi until 1972), whose work also illuminates important aspects of Jewish demography in the Diaspora. On the international level, the Division of Jewish Demography and Statistics in the Institute of Contemporary Jewry of The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, also headed by R. Bachi, has advanced the study of Jewish demography throughout the world by encouraging and coordinating data collection and research, refining methodology, developing technical services (world bibliography, documentation center), and training specialists. It is also the seat of the Association for Jewish Demography and Statistics, which serves as the international organization for interested scholars and laymen. Other international Jewish research bodies whose activities include some statistical work are: The Institute of Jewish Affairs (in London since 1966), YIVO, and yad vashem . (Usiel Oscar Schmelz) -Sources The amount and quality of documentation on Jewish population size and characteristics is far from satisfactory. Reviewing the sources since 1990, however, one finds that important new data and estimates have become available for several countries through official population censuses and Jewish-sponsored sociodemographic surveys. National censuses yielded results on Jewish populations in Ireland, the Czech Republic, and India (1991); Romania and Bulgaria (1992); the Russian Republic and Macedonia (1994), Israel (1995), Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand (1996 and 2001); Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan (1999); Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, and Tajikistan (2000); the United Kingdom, Hungary, Croatia, Lithuania, and Ukraine (2001); the Russian Republic, and Georgia (2002). Permanent national population registers, including information on the Jewish religious, ethnic or national group, exist in several European countries (Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), and in Israel. In addition, independent sociodemographic studies have provided most valuable information on Jewish demography and socioeconomic stratification as well as on Jewish identification. Surveys were conducted over the last several years in South Africa (1991 and 1998); Mexico (1991 and 2000); Lithuania (1993); the United Kingdom and Chile (1995); Venezuela (1998–99); Israel, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Guatemala (1999); Moldova and Sweden (2000); France and Turkey (2002); Argentina (2003 and 2004). In the United States, important new insights were provided by two large surveys, the National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS, 2000–01) and the American Jewish Identity Survey (AJIS, 2001). Several further Jewish population studies were separately conducted in major cities in the United States (notably in New York City in 2002) and in other countries. Additional evidence on Jewish population trends can be obtained from the systematic monitoring of membership registers, vital statistics, and migration records available from Jewish communities and other Jewish organizations in many countries or cities, notably in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo. Detailed data on Jewish immigration routinely collected in Israel helps in the assessment of changing Jewish population sizes in other countries. Some of this ongoing research is part of a coordinated effort aimed at updating the profile of world Jewry. Following an International Conference on Jewish Population Problems held in Jerusalem in 1987, initiated by the late Roberto Bachi of the Hebrew University and sponsored by major Jewish organizations worldwide, an International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) was established, chaired by Sidney Goldstein of Brown University. An Initiative on Jewish Demography, sponsored by the Jewish Agency under the chairmanship of Sallai Meridor, led to an international conference held in Jerusalem in 2002 and to an effort of data collection and analysis implemented over the years 2003–2005. The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI), chaired by Ambassador Dennis Ross, provides a framework for policy analyses and suggestions, including Jewish population issues. -Definitions A major problem with Jewish population estimates periodically circulated by individual scholars or Jewish organizations is a lack of coherence and uniformity in the definitional criteria followed – when the issue of defining the Jewish population is addressed at all. Simply put, the quantitative study of Jewish populations can rely only on operational, not normative, definitional criteria. Three major concepts must be considered in order to put the study of Jewish demography on serious comparative ground. In most countries outside of Israel, the core Jewish population includes all those who, when asked, identify themselves as Jews; or, if the respondent is a different person in the same household, are identified by him/her as Jews. This is an intentionally comprehensive and pragmatic approach reflecting the nature of most available sources of data on Jewish population. In countries other than Israel, such data often derive from population censuses or social surveys, where interviewees have the option to decide how to answer relevant questions on religious or ethnic preferences. Such a definition of a person as a Jew, reflecting subjective feelings, broadly overlaps but does not necessarily coincide with halakhah (rabbinic law) or other normatively binding definitions. Inclusion does not depend on any measure of that person's Jewish commitment or behavior in terms of religiosity, beliefs, knowledge, communal affiliation, or otherwise. The core Jewish population includes all converts to Judaism by any procedure as well as other people who declare they are Jewish. Also included are persons of Jewish parentage who claim no current religious or ethnic identity. Persons of Jewish parentage who adopted another religion are excluded, as are other individuals who in censuses or surveys explicitly identify with a non-Jewish group without having converted out. In the State of Israel, personal status is subject to the rulings of the Ministry of the Interior, which relies on criteria established by rabbinical authorities. In Israel, therefore, the core Jewish population does not simply express subjective identification but reflects definite legal rules, those of halakhah. Documentation to prove a person's Jewish status may include non-Jewish sources. The question whether Jewish identification according to this core definition can or should be mutually exclusive with other religious corporate identities emerged on a major scale in the course of the 2000–01 NJPS. The solution chosen – admittedly after much debate – was to allow for Jews with multiple religious identities to be included under certain circumstances in the standard definition of Jewish population. In the latter survey, at least in the version initially processed and circulated by UJC, "a Jew is defined as a person whose religion is Judaism, 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." A category of Persons of Jewish Background (PJBs) was introduced: some of these were included in the Jewish population count and others were not. By the same token, Jews with multiple ethnic identities were included in the standard Jewish population count in Canada. The adoption of such extended criteria by the research community tends to stretch Jewish population definitions further than had usually been done in the past and beyond the above-mentioned typical core definition. These procedures tend to limit actual comparability of the same Jewish population over time and of different Jewish populations at the same time. The enlarged Jewish population includes the sum of (a) the core Jewish population; all other persons of Jewish parentage who – by core Jewish population criteria – are not Jewish currently (or at the time of investigation); and (c) all of the respective further non-Jewish household members (spouses, children, etc.). Non-Jews with Jewish background, as far as they can be ascertained, include: (a) persons who have themselves adopted another religion, even though they may also claim to be Jewish by ethnicity or religion – with the caveat just mentioned for recent U.S. and Canadian data; and other persons with Jewish parentage who disclaim being Jews. As noted, some PJBs who do not pertain to the core Jewish population naturally belong under the enlarged definition. It is customary in sociodemographic surveys to consider the religio-ethnic identification of parents. Some censuses, however, do ask about more distant ancestry. For both conceptual and practical reasons, the enlarged definition does not include other non-Jewish relatives who lack a Jewish background and live in exclusively non-Jewish households. The law of Return, Israel's distinctive legal framework for the acceptance and absorption of new immigrants, awards Jewish new immigrants immediate citizenship and other civil rights. According to the current, amended version of the Law of Return, a Jew is any person born to a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism (regardless of denomination – Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform), who does not have another religious identity. By ruling of Israel's Supreme Court, conversion from Judaism, as in the case of some ethnic Jews who currently identify with another religion, entails loss of eligibility for Law of Return purposes. The law as such does not affect a person's Jewish status – which, as noted, is adjudicated by Israel's Ministry of the Interior and rabbinical authorities – but only the specific benefits available under the Law of Return. The law extends its provisions to all current Jews, their children, and grandchildren, as well as to the respective Jewish or non-Jewish spouses. As a result of its three-generation and lateral extension, the Law of Return applies to a large population, one of significantly wider scope than the core and enlarged Jewish populations defined above. It is actually quite difficult to estimate what the total size of the Law of Return population could be. These higher estimates in some of the major countries reach values double or three times as high as those for the core Jewish population. The significant involvement of major Jewish organizations in Israel and in the U.S. – such as the Jewish Agency, the American Joint Distribution Committee, HIAS or UJC – in sponsoring data collection tends to complicate research issues. Organizations are motivated by the needs of their constituencies more than by neutral analytic criteria. In turn, the understandable interest of organizations to continue functioning and securing budgetary resources tends to bring them to take care of Jewish populations increasingly closer to the enlarged than to the core definition. For further developments see population ; Vital Statistics. (Sergio DellaPergola (2nd ed.) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Nossig (ed.), Juedische Statistik (1903); Bureau fuer Statistik der Juden, Statistik der Juden (1918); Israel, Central Bureau of Statistics, Official Statistics in Israel (1963; Heb., 19662); R. Bachi, in: La vie juive dans l'Europe contemporaine (1965); idem, in: JJSO, 8 no. 2 (1966), 142–9; U.O. Schmelz, ibid., 8 no. 1 (1966), 49–63; idem, Jewish Demography and Statistics (1961), bibliography for 1920–60; U.O. Schmelz and P. Glikson, Jewish Population Studies 1961 – 1968 (1970). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: U.O. Schmelz, P. Glikson, and S.J. Gould (eds.), Studies in Jewish Demography: Survey for 1969 – 1971 (1975), 60–97; M. Corinaldi, "Jewish Identity," chap. 2, in: M. Corinaldi, Jewish Identity: The Case of Ethiopian Jewry (1998); S. DellaPergola and L. Cohen (eds.), World Jewish Population: Trends and Policies (1992); B.A. Kosmin, S. Goldstein, J. Waksberg, N. Lerer, A. Keysar, and J. Scheckner, Highlights of the CJF 1990 National Jewish Population Survey (1991); L. Kotler-Berkowitz, S.M. Cohen, J. Ament, V. Klaff, F. Mott, and D. Peckerman-Neuman, with L. Blass, D. Bursztyn, and D. Marker, The National Jewish Population Survey 2000 – 01: Strength, Challenge, and Diversity in the American Jewish Population (2003); S. DellaPergola, Jewish Demography: Facts, Outlook, Challenges, JPPPI Alert Paper 2 (2003); The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute Assessment 2005, Executive Report 2 (2005); S. Della Pergola, World Jewish Population, American Jewish Year Book, 100 (New York, 2005), 87–122.
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.