1998 Jewish Community Study of the Coachella Valley, California

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation of Palm Springs and the Desert Area

Principal Investigator(s): Jacob B. Ukeles, Ron Miller, Gary A. Tobin

Study Dates: January - March, 1998

Population Estimates: 1998 Study estimated that 13,850 Jewish persons lived in approximately 7,850 households in the Palm Springs-Coachella Valley (CA) area. Another 2,000 non-Jews resided in these households.
Key Findings:
  • Jewish households represented 8% of all Coachella Valley Jewish households;

  • Only 1,000 Jewish households include a child under the age of eighteen; 13% of all Jewish households;

  • 47% of all people living in Valley Jewish households are seniors; the median age of all people in Jewish households is approximately 55;

  • One-of-five Jewish households reported an annual income under $25,000, while one-of-three reported incomes of at least $100,000;

  • Compared to other Jewish communities, educational achievement is relatively low; only two-of-ten respondents/spouses have a graduate degree, with female graduate degree achievement about half of the male level, reflecting the older age cohort in the Palm Springs, Coachella Valley Jewish community;

  • Palm Springs is still a center of Jewish residence with 36% of the Jewish households living there - but the majority of households live in other Valley cities, particularly the Cathedral City/Rancho Mirage are: 28% of all households, and Palm Desert/Sun City: 21%.

  • 72% of all Jewish respondents view the area as their primary residence, while about one-of-five respondents are "snowbirds," reporting that they stay in the area for less than six months annually; 32% of Cathedral City/Rancho Mirage respondents are snowbirds.

  • 81% of currently married couples are in-married, while 19% of couples are intermarried (one spouse is Jewish, the other non-Jewish); recent marriages are more likely to be intermarriages;

  • Only 19% of children in intermarried households (which tend to be year-round residents) are being raised as Jewish-only, and another 19% as Jewish and something else;

  • 82% of children being raised as Jewish (and Jewish and something else) have had some Jewish education;

  • Being Jewish is very important to 87% of survey respondents; Israel is very important to 76%;

  • 7% identify as Orthodox, 8% as traditional, 32% as Conservative, 43% as Reform Jews;

  • 27% report local synagogue membership, and another 20% participate in other local Jewish organizations, although they are not synagogue-affiliated inn the Valley;

  • Jewish ritual observance parallels other Jewish communities: 72% always/usually participate in a Seder, 66% light Hanukkah candles, half fast on Yom Kippur, and one-of-five light Shabbat candles.

  • 37% of respondents report that they contribute to the Jewish Federation of Palm Springs and Desert Area; a similar percentage report donations to Jewish federations outside the Valley, often for at least $1,000.
Sample: Adult Jewish Households in the Coachella Valley Area, California; the Valley was divided into five areas for sampling, Jewish household estimation and reporting: (1)Palm Springs, (2) Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage, (3) Palm Desert (including Sun City),

Sample Size: 668 total interviews: 402 extensive interviews and 266 "mini-interviews," mostly with frail elderly.

Sample Notes: The sampling design and Jewish household estimation model was based on a stratified random sample with two sampling frames -- a Federation List and a residual RDD sample -- in each of the five geographic areas. Un-duplicated household telephone numbers from the Federation List were eliminated from the RDD pool before sample generation.

Jewish household estimates were computed in each of the ten sampling frames: List and Residual RDD data in each of the geographic areas.

Report includes a Sampling disposition and discussion of weighting procedures in the Appendix.

The interviewing phase of the 1998 Coachella Valley Jewish Community Study proved to be a challenge for the interviewers from Sundel Research, Inc. when many Jewish households reached in the screening phase indicated that they could not remain on the phone for more than a few minutes - either because of their own poor health, or their need to care for a spouse who was in very poor health.

As a result, while 402 extensive interviews were completed, a briefer "mini" interview was conducted with an additional 266 (mostly) frail elderly households, and some other respondents who refused to talk for more than a few minutes - in order to better capture the total demographics of the community.

Thus, there are two data files, and data reported in the Summary Report are based on both of these files.

  • Demographic data for the community are based on all 668 interviews

  • Jewish connections, philanthropy, Jewish education of children, attitudinal data, etc. are based on the 402 extensive interviews only - which have been weighted to approximate the overall characteristics of all Jewish households interviewed in the total of 668 interviews.

  • Tables in the Summary Report indicate the source of the analysis, especially when all 668 interviews are used. The default source of data is the 402 interview data file.
Study Notes: Two data files are now available for the Study: (1) Interview data from the 668 interviews, and (2) interview data from the 402 extensive interviews.

The appropriate household weight to use for the 668 interview data file is HHWT668.

Data were initially weighted for all 668 interviews to adjust for the disproportionate sampling design, the number of telephone voice lines in residual RDD frames, and the percentage of households in the screening phase that indicated that the respondent or another adult was Jewish.

The appropriate weight to use for the 402 completed interviews data file is HHWT-ULT. This weight adjusted the completed interviews (as best as could be done) to reflect the demographic characteristics all 668 respondents - with adjustments focused on ensuring that "...older and shorter term residents were more adequately represented in the ...[402] interview data set."

The detailed calculations for weight adjustments in HHWT-ULT are included in the "Frequency Distributions" PDF zipped with the Data File. See variable 273 - HHWT-ULT - in the "codebook" created from the original MicroCase data file.

Both of the SPSS portable data files available through the Data Bank were created from the original MicroCase files. Some of the labeling available in MicroCase is not available in the SPSS portable versions.


Survey Reports

» Main Report

Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

» Questionnaire

Data Files and Data Definitions

» Zipped SPSS Data File

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