A Study of the Jewish Population of Greater Boston, 1965

Sponsor(s): Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP)

Principal Investigator(s): Morris Axelrod

Population Estimates: Jewish population estimated at 208,000 Jewish persons in 70,500 Jewish households in the Boston Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA), and 176,000 in 61,000 Jewish HH within the CJP areas of service. Numbers are Jewish persons.
Key Findings: The 1965 Study was the first of five Boston Jewish population studies conducted for CJP (see the 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2005 studies at the Data Bank). In the Boston SMSA in 1965, the researchers found that:
  • The Boston Jewish population was somewhat larger than previous estimates, since the study used a more inclusive definition of being Jewish, was based on a carefully designed sample with coverage of families which have not been known to the Jewish community, and population growth;

  • There were 66,000 children (32%) and 142,000 Jewish adults in the Boston SMSA; details on age breakdowns, marital status, household size, foreign-born status, education, occupation, income, etc. are presented in 1965 Report - interested readers should see the comparative data from the 1975 Jewish Population Study of Greater Boston;

  • Chapter 6 has an extensive discussion of the health status of Boston's Jews; 46% of survey respondents rated their health as very good, 33% as good, 16% fair, and 4% poor health; questions on dental health and hospitalization also included;

  • Just under one-in-five respondents indicated that their household had a "special money problem" in the year preceding the survey, most often related to medical conditions;

  • Among the three major Jewish denomination, 44% of respondents identified as Conservative Jews, 27% were Reform Jews, and 14% viewed themselves as Orthodox; 3% of interviewed respondents had been raised Jewish but now identified as Protestant or Catholic;

  • 66% thought that the synagogue should be the center of Jewish activity; 53% report current synagogue membership;

  • 87% take part in a Seder, 62% light Shabbat candles, and 27% keep kosher;

  • 7% of married couples are intermarried; 53% agreed that marrying Gentiles is a "...bad thing for the Jewish people."

Sample: Jewish Households in Greater Boston Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA). Maps included in 1965 Report; geographic sub-communities are defined and data analysis is reported by sub-community.

Sample Size: 1,567 in-person interviews in 1965.

Sample Notes: A Jewish household was defined as a household with an adult who considered themselves to be Jewish, or had a Jewish parent. Interviews were completed with married Jewish adults, or unmarried Jewish adults at least 21 years old.

Two sampling frames were used: (a) a List sampling frame from the CJP, utilizing a 1 in 20 systematic random sampling selection process, and (b)an Area probability sample of 1 in 160 Boston addresses. Interviews from each frame were merged and weighted based on the probability of selection within each sample; two interviews selected from both the Area probability sample and the List sample were given separate "IBM" card entries in each frame. The combined sample was viewed as an "...unbiased and representative.." sample of the population. The number of interviews within each frame was not published.

Unlike the studies conducted in 1975, 1985, and 1995 in the Greater Boston area, the 1965 study attempted to exclude non-Jews from the Jewish population estimates, excluding them in the few households (intermarried, tenant-landlord) with non-Jews.


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Survey Reports

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Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

» Questionnaire
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» Screener Questionnaire
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