The 2004 San Francisco Jewish Community Study

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties

Principal Investigator(s): Bruce Phillips

Study Dates: March - June 2004

Population Estimates:

The Data Bank estimates that 213,800 Jews live in 125,400 Jewish households in the study area (see discussion below under Study Notes)

Including non-Jews, a total of 291,700 people live in Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo counties and the northern section of Santa Clara County.

Key Findings:

The 2004 Study concluded that the number of Jewish persons in the Federation's service area approximately doubled from 119,000 Jews in 1986 to the DataBank estimate of 213,800 in 2004.

DataBank users should note that the Jewish Community Federation of Silicon Valley and the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay did not participate in the 2004 study, although they had participated in the 1986 study;

♦ 55% of all married couples include a non-Jewish partner, twice the 27% rate in 1986. Sub-area variation is significant: 39% of South Peninsula married couples are interfaith couples, compared to 54% in San Francisco County, 62% in the North Peninsula, 75% in both Marin and Sonoma Counties.

♦ 53,000 children live in the San Francisco study area, approximately 18% in a single parent household. Approximately 41% of all children live with two Jewish parents, and another 42% (rounded) with one Jewish parent. Among interfaith households, 38% of children are being raised as Jewish only, and another 12% in Judaism and another religion.

♦ Interfaith couples appear to be more connected to the Jewish community than interfaith couples nationally; adults with only one Jewish parent have become a significant part of the Jewish population, and will probably continue to grow.

♦ Formal connections to the Jewish community (synagogue, etc.) have declined since 1986, "...but informal connections with the Jewish community are both strong and widespread." Since 1986, the report argues, the trend has been for young adults raised by two Jewish parents to become more Jewishly committed and involved, especially when compared to young adult children from intermarried Jewish households.

♦ Almost 10% of San Francisco study area households fall below 150% of Federal Poverty guidelines; 11% of children under 12 live in a poor Jewish household, and 22% of single-parent household children are poor; the proportion of children living with a single parent increased from 15% in 1986 to 32% in 2005;

♦ An estimated 10,400 Jewish households, 8% of all Jewish households, identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT); in 1986, GLBT households were concentrated in San Francisco County, but in 2004 GLBT Jewish households were geographically dispersed.


Adult Jewish households in Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, as well as the northernmost part of Santa Clara County (Palo Alto, the Los Altos area and Cupertino).

Sample Size: 1,491 Jewish Households form the basis of the study.

Sample Notes:

The Research Methodology is most completely described in the "Main Report - Full Findings." The questionnaire includes the screening questions used to identify Jewish households and Jewish household residents.

There are three data files available as of August, 2016 -  (in order to avoid confusion, all are in SAV format only - DataBank users who want Portable file versions of these three files can request them through the DataBank, if needed). The three data files:

(1) A household data file with 1,491 cases which has previously been available through the DataBank and does NOT include 105 Russian-household interviews which were non-randomly sampled,  Unweighted, there are 491 RDD interviews and 1,000 List interviews (see "saysample")  Weighted with "bap_wgt," the RDD interviews account for 95.3% of all HH interviews, while the Federation LIST interviews account for 4.7%.

♦ The weighted number of households with "bap_wgt" is 125,373.

(2)  A newly updated HH data file by Bruce Phillips with these 1,491 cases plus the 105 Russian household interviews that were excluded from final report analysis.  See the DataBank variable at the end "SaySamp2" to distinguish List, RDD and "excluded" Russian interviews  -  unweighted data only.  

♦ The default weight "bap_wgt" sets these 105 cases to "0" so the Russian interviews will not appear in any weighted interviews.  Using the weight variable, the same 125,373 cases exist -  but the DataBank user has the option of using the Russian interviews.

♦ Dr. Phillips has also created weights for the Russian sample near the end of the data file.

(3) The basic Individual data file  -  with 3,482 cases  - is the only data file which separates data on all people in the household (excluding the Russian "0" weighted interviews).  "Jewpop2" unweighted shows 2,905 of these individuals are Jewish and 577 are non-Jewish.  Data file is also weighted by "bap_wgt" which should be used in analysis.  

♦ [The individual file separates each person in the HH into a separate "row," while in the HH file, individual members are nested within the row that exists for each HH,]

Researchers should download and review the Instructions for Using the San Francisco 2004 Data Files which includes a list of key variables in both files.

Study Notes:

The Data Bank estimate of the number of Jews in the study area is noted above as 213,800, while the published report estimates 227,800 Jewish persons.

The published report deliberately used a very inclusive definition of Jewish children (see Main Report, pages 16-17) for the basic population estimates, but then (page 73) used a much less inclusive definition of being raised Jewish when estimating that 38% of children in intermarried households were being raised as Jewish only and another 12% were being raised in Judaism and some other religion.

The 213,800 Jewish persons estimate includes 175,000 Jewish adults and 38,800 children-raised-as Jewish or Jewish and something else, based on an analysis of the study household data file.

The Data Bank 213,800 Jewish persons estimate excludes from the Jewish total those children being raised without a religion, children raised as Christians only, and children raised in a non-Christian religion other than Judaism.

Readers can obviously decide which definition and estimates they prefer to use.

Language: English