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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Its character, however, is quickly changing. For the report’s authors, the picture is of a highly diverse Jewish community living in large, dissimilar neighborhoods. “It’s a reminder to people who deal with New York Jewry that when you go to different neighborhoods you’re dealing not just with a different demography, but a different culture as well,” said Steven M. Cohen, a leading sociologist of American Jewish life and contributor to the report.

The area’s overall Jewish population grew to 1.5 million people from 1.4 million people over the past decade. In an interview with the Forward, Beck said that two thirds of that growth came from the Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhoods of Boro Park and Williamsburg.

The neighborhood report is the second analysis to come out of the UJA-Federation’s survey of nearly 6000 Jewish households in New York City, Westchester and Long Island. The first report, released in June, showed that the area’s Jewish community was growing poorer, less educated and more religious.

This new analysis highlights deep disparities between the city’s various Jewish population clusters in categories like income and intermarriage.

“There’s a measure of bird of feathers flocking together,” said Cohen. “It’s not that every type of Jew is scattered evenly.”

Economic conditions in Williamsburg, an Hasidic neighborhood, are even worse than in Boro Park. In Williamsburg, 78% of households earn less than $50,000 a year. Over half qualify as poor under federal poverty guidelines.

These Hasidic neighborhoods stand in stark contrast to the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, where incomes remain high. So high, in fact, that young families are moving farther north to find apartments – a trend illustrated in the study’s findings.


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