In Portland, Ore., Jewish Population Skyrockets

By JTA

Published June 20, 2011.

Twice as many Jews are living in Portland, Ore., than was previously believed, according to a demographic study.

The newly released study commissioned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland reports 47,500 Jews living in the region, making Portland among the top 30 U.S. cities in Jewish populations.

The federation had been using a figure of 20,000 to 25,000, its staffers told the Portland Tribune.

Most of the Jews in the region are living in the city rather than the suburbs, according to the new study.

The study also suggests that just 11 percent of the city’s Jews are members of synagogues, and slightly more than one-third are involved in organized Jewish activities. Those older than 65 are the most involved, community leaders told the Tribune, while newcomers in their 20s often are not on the community radar.

In early June, the federation allocated $300,000 in Community Impact Grants to go toward a range of social service and Jewish engagement initiatives. Some of the larger grants included $19,000 to Hazon, the Jewish food movement, to help develop a local sustainable food system; $50,000 to JDub Portland, to bring new Jewish music to the area; and $51,000 to fund a youth emissary for the local branch of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Portland’s last Jewish population study was conducted in the 1970s.



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