The Fast-Shifting Map of Jewish New York

Population Dips in Old Strongholds, Explodes in New Ones

Shifts and Surprises: A new study pinpoints where New York’s Jewish population is growing fast and where its stagnant or shrinking. There are some big surprises.
claudio papapietro
Shifts and Surprises: A new study pinpoints where New York’s Jewish population is growing fast and where its stagnant or shrinking. There are some big surprises.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published January 18, 2013.
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Brownstone Brooklyn and Boro Park are just a couple of miles each other in South Brooklyn. Their Jewish communities, according to a new report from the UJA-Federation of New York, couldn’t be more different.

In Boro Park, the vast majority of Jews are Orthodox and only 1% are intermarried. In Brownstone Brooklyn, 59% are intermarried and less than 1% are Orthodox.

The differences run deeper than religious preference. Brownstone Brooklyn’s Jews are rich: Nearly half of Jewish households earn more than $100,000 a year. Not so in Boro Park, where 68% of households earn less than $50,000 a year

New York’s Jewish community is split into radically distinct, quickly changing clusters, the UJA report out January 17 determined. The study, a neighborhood-level analysis of a landmark survey the group conducted in 2011, shows the largest Jewish community of its kind in rapid flux.

In Manhattan’s old Jewish neighborhoods, the Jews are dying out. Jewish populations downtown are shrinking. Growth is stagnant on the Upper West Side.

Orthodox Brooklyn, meanwhile, is exploding. The Jewish population in the Hasidic neighborhood of Boro Park grew 71% over the past decade. And in Queens, a neighborhood of Jewish immigrants from the Former Soviet Union grew by 47%.

The community is still huge. Many of its individual neighborhoods have more Jews than some mid-sized American cities. “[T]here are as many Jewish households on Manhattan’s Upper West Side…as there are Jewish households in Cleveland,” said Pearl Beck, the report’s main author, in an emailed statement.


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