Greater Boston 1995 Community Study

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

Principal Investigator(s): Sherry R. Israel

Population Estimates: 1995 Report estimates that there are 233,000 people living in 97,000 Jewish households in the Greater Boston area; this total, defined as the "Jewish population," includes Jewish persons and non-Jewish persons. No separate estimate of Jews is provided.
Key Findings:
  • The number of Jewish households in Greater Boston increased from 80,000 in 1975 to 100,000 in 1985, but then declined slightly to 97,000 in 1995; within the CJP area (Combined Jewish Philanthropies), Jewish household numbers increased from 73,000 in 1975, to 84,500 in 1985, to 88,700 in 1995;

  • The total number of people in Jewish households in Greater Boston increased from 195,000 in 1975, to 228,000 in 1985, and to 233,000 in 1995. Within the CJP area, the number of people in Jewish households increased during this time period from 170,000 to 187,000 to 213,000 in 1995;

  • All demographic data was reported in the three Boston studies for all persons in Jewish households, not just for Jewish persons, although the published reports typically say "Jews."

  • The Jewish community is more dispersed in 1995 than in 1985; the three core cities and towns: Boston, Brookline and Newton had a total population in Jewish households of 84,000 in 1985, but only 66,500 in 1995 - a decline from 37% of the community to 29%;

  • At the same time, growth has occurred in the Near West towns, those lying between Newton and Route 495;

  • 37% of the community are baby boomers, but the percentage of adults in their thirties and forties has decreased; fewer Jews moved into the Boston area from 1985 to 1995 than did from 1975 to 1985;

  • Intermarriage rates in the Boston area increased sharply in the 1980s, but appear to have leveled off since then; among survey respondents married between 1991 and 1995, 34% of Jewish-born respondents married a non-Jewish person, the equivalent of slightly more than one-half of all newly-formed households in the Boston area are intermarried households;

  • There are more children in the Boston area than ever before: 56,000; in 1985, children were 20% of the community compared to 24% in 1995;

  • Of the 56,000 children in Boston's Jewish households, 17,000 (30%) live in intermarried Jewish households; 33% of intermarrieds with children say their goal is to raise them as Jews while 50% have a goal of dual religious identities;

  • Synagogue membership increased from 1985 to 1995; in 1995, 47% of Jewish adults were synagogue affiliated; denominational affiliated remained largely the same, however;

  • Jewish observance levels declined from 1985 in terms of observing dietary laws 11% in 1995 vs. 15% in 1985), lighting Shabbat candles (23% 1995 vs. 31% 1985), and fasting on Yom Kippur (54% vs. 63%); Hanukah candle lighting and seder attendance remained at about the same 80% level as in 1985, with a slight increase in Hanukah candle lighting;

  • CJP charitable donation rates declined from 1985 to 1995 in all age groups, except for those 65 and over; in 1995, 14% of adults under age 30 reported a CJP donation, compared to 25% of those 30-39, 38% of those 40-49, 52% of those 50-64, and 64% of those 65 and over;

Sample: Jewish Households in Greater Boston: all cities and towns served by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, plus some communities of the Jewish Federation of the North Shore. Maps included.

Sample Size: 1,200 telephone interviews April-July, 1995.

Sample Notes: Survey research conducted by the Center for Survey Research, University of Massachusetts Boston. Research methodology written by Mary Ellen Colten, Anthony Roman and Floyd J. Fowler of the Center for Survey Research.

The sampling design involved a stratified random sample from two independent and complementary sampling frames:

  • (1) 600 interviews randomly selected from List provided by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston with some over-sampling of high donor households,

  • (2) 600 interviews from a residual RDD (random digit dialed telephone numbers) sampling frame constructed by un-duplicating List phone numbers from the total potential RDD frame.

Data have been weighted to compensate for differential sampling methodologies, and over-sampling within the List frame.

  • Two weights are included in the data set.

  • "ADSWSGT" weights the data to Jewish adults, and has been used in the report for percentages of Jewish adults that have engaged in a Jewish behavior, etc.

  • "HHSWGT" is a household weight variable, which provides data on Jewish households, typically showing lower rates of Jewish connections, since multi-person households tend to be more affiliated and better connected Jewishly.

  • Thus, using the "ADSWGT" gives a 47% synagogue affiliation rates of Jewish adults, while using the "HHSWGT" shows that 40% of Jewish households are synagogue members.

Error calculations based on design effect resulting from the dual frame sampling design ranged from 1.061 to 1.442. See methodological details in reports.

2005 Report apparently focuses on CJP catchment area only, unlike 1995 Report which provides data on CJP catchment area and on Greater Boston, including communities noted above in "Sample" description.


Survey Reports

» Main Report

» Methods & Field Procedures Report

» Summary Report

» Report on Jews from Former USSR

Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

» Questionnaire

Data Files and Data Definitions

» Zipped SPSS Data File

Other Documentation

» File Structure Notes

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