A Report on the Jewish Population of San Diego 1975

Sponsor(s): United Jewish Federation of Greater San Diego

Principal Investigator(s): Fred Massarik

Study Dates: 1974-1975

Population Estimates: The 1975 Report estimates that there are 21,000 people living in approximately 6,80 Jewish households in the San Diego area. This total, defined as the “Jewish population,” includes Jewish persons and non-Jewish persons. No separate estimate of Jews is pr
Key Findings: The 1975 Jewish Population Study of San Diego is an interesting study, based upon a limited number of interviews (295).
  • As of 1975, the San Diego area had experienced a decline in the Jewish birthrate, which has altered the Jewish population’s age profile. There has been a significant decrease in the number of children aged four years old or younger as compared to former years; there are approximately half as many young children in Jewish households as there were a few years ago. The Study author notes that this trend is in line with National Jewish Population Study findings and with the pattern found in the general population.
  • Report focuses on geographic variations in age structure, etc. Maps included. A disproportional number of older Jews reside in North Park and Mission Hills-Urban, while the highest percentages of children and young people aged 14 and under are found in Ocean-Mission Beach, North County, and in the "Primary Area." Thus, the largest average Jewish household sizes are found in the Primary Area and in North County (4.2 persons per household), while the smallest average Jewish household size is in North Park (1.5 persons per household).

  • The rate of intermarriage has been rising significantly. Approximately 16% of survey respondents were non-Jewish. In marriages where the husband was 30 years old or younger, he considered himself Jewish only 53% of the time. In marriages where the husband was 30 years or older, this figure is 89%. The corresponding figures for the wife's religion are 65% and 79%. Please note that these conclusions were presented as more "qualitative" than quantitative, given the minimal number of married couples under age 30.

  • The economic status of the San Diego Jewish community was relatively high, both in absolute terms and compared to other Jewish communities of corresponding size. Yet, slightly more than 10% of Jewish households report incomes under $4000 and were considered to be economically “at risk.”

  • A very high proportion of Jewish household heads in the San Diego area are professionals (approximately 50%); only 8% of Jewish household heads are in the blue-collar and labor categories.

  • Levels of education were high compared to the National Jewish Population Survey. About 21% had advanced and professional degrees, compared to 13% from the National Jewish Population Survey.
  • Conservative Jews made up 31% of the Jewish population in the San Diego area, Reform 26%, Orthodox 6%, and non-affiliated denominationally 20%.

  • About 40% of Jewish households were members of temples or synagogues.

  • Support for Israel is very strong; over 90% are committed to the survival of Israel and its support by American Jews. The majority observe Passover (78%) and Hanukkah (70%).

  • More than one third (37%) of persons in the San Diego Jewish population do not attend religious services. About one in five (19%) are mainly “High Holiday attenders.” Approximately 4% attend services at least weekly.

  • More than nine out of 10 Jewish adults had some Jewish education.

  • Among children, only a fraction are enrolled in a Jewish school. The highest proportion of attendance is among those aged 10 through 14 - about two thirds are enrolled in a Jewish school. These percentages closely resemble those found in the National Jewish Population Study.

Sample Size: 295 interviews of Jewish Households in the San Diego Area.

Sample Notes: The 1975 Jewish population study of San Diego utilized the estimation methodology often used at that time based upon a combination of distinctive Jewish Names and Jewish communal lists. The resulting sample was designed to represent both persons directly involved in Jewish community life, those minimally known to the Central Jewish Community Agency, and those who simply live in the San Diego area without specific links to Jewish community activity.

Methodological details discussed by the author, who was one of the primary researchers for the 1970 National Jewish Population Survey.

Study Notes: No data file is available.

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