Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

< Q2.20 TOC Q2.22 >

Question 2.21:
How many Jews are there today in the U.S.A.?


The Jewish Population of the United States by state can be found at It is based on some 2002 surveys, and shows an approximate total of 6.1 million Jews, or 2.2% of the total population. It doesn't provide a breakdown by movement.

A 1990 [yes, this appears to be the latest survey] National Jewish Population Survey of the Council of Jewish Federations (which can be found at the North American Jewish Data Bank ( reports the following:

American Jews:  (TOTAL......5,515,000)
     Born Jews, Consider Judaism their religion.....4,210,000
     Born Jews, Citing no religion..................1,120,000
     Jews by Choice (formerly gentiles)...............185,000

Reform.......................41.4%  "Traditional"*............... 3.2%
Conservative.................40.4%  Reconstructionist............ 1.6%
Orthodox..................... 6.8%  Miscellaneous "Jewish"*...... 1.4%
"Just Jewish"*............... 5.2%

*: self-description, though not a denomination.

Survey Criteria for the classifications:

Emphasizes the binding unchanging character of Jewish law
Asserts the continuing authority of Jewish law as part of a dynamic and developing tradition.
Emphasizes the Jewish prophetic values and accepts Jewish practices that it considers relevant for modern times.
A humanistic approach to Jewish tradition that redefines the idea of G-d in humanistic terms.

The Information Please Almanac, at, reports that as of 1998, Jews made up approximately 2% of the population of the United States. This is about the same percentage as in 1900, but is lower than the percentage in 1970 (3.2%). The top 5 non-Christian religions in the United States, according to the Almanac, are as follows:

Adherents       1900      Mid-1970s    Mid-1990s     Mid-1995    (Projected)
Nonreligious   1.00M         11.73M       22.23M       23.39M        24.55M
                1.3%           5.6%         8.7%         8.8%          8.8%

Jews           1.50M          6.70M        5.54M        5.52M         5.50M
                2.0%           3.2%         2.2%         2.1%          2.0%

Muslims        0.01M          0.80M        3.60M        3.77M         3.95M
                0.0%           0.4%         1.4%         1.4%          1.4%

Buddhists      0.03M          0.20M        1.68M        1.86M         2.00M
                0.0%           0.1%         0.7%         0.7%          0.7%

Black Muslim   0.00M          0.20M        1.25M        1.40M         1.65M
                0.0%           0.1%         0.5%         0.5%          0.6%

As this chart shows, the percentage of Jews in the U.S. is projected to be slowly shrinking. For this survey, the count for Jews is based on the core Jewish population relating to Judaism, excluding Jewish persons professing a different religion but including immigrants from the former U.S.S.R., Eastern Europe, Israel, and other areas.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>