The 2010 Western North Carolina Jewish Demographic Study

Sponsor(s): Asheville Jewish Leadership Collaborative

Principal Investigator(s): Matthew Boxer, Benjamin Phillips

Study Dates: April 19, 2010 to August 24, 2010

Population Estimates: The Western North Carolina Study area includes an estimated 4,235 Jews: 3,400 year-round Jewish residents and 835 seasonal Jewish residents. Total number of people living in Jewish households (including non-Jews) is 5,720, of whom 4,720 live in the area year-round.
Key Findings: The Western North Carolina Jewish Demographic Study was designed as the first scientific survey of the Jewish community living in the area; report released in January 2011. Data presented contrasting year-round and seasonal residents.

  • 58% of residents have moved into the area in the ten years preceding the survey, since 2000.

  • 28% of Jewish persons are age 65 or older; children are 15% of Jewish residents; few Jewish residents in immediate post-college age cohort (ages 25-29).

  • Three of four Jewish households include a married couple.

  • 40% of married couples are interfaith - 47% of year-round resident couples compared to only 6% of seasonally resident couples.

  • 20% of households include children (but only 7% of seasonal HH) - 64% of all children are being raised exclusively Jewish, 19% Jewish and something else, 17% exclusively non-Jewish.

  • 37% of households report Jewish religious organizational membership/affiliation (38% of year-round and 36% of seasonal households).

  • 16% of households report JCC membership (17% year-round vs. 12% seasonal).

  • Seder attendance (always/usually) reported by 58% of year-round residents compared to 81% of seasonal residents.

  • 54% of year-round vs. 40% of seasonal residents report volunteering in the month preceding the survey; but 37% of year-round and 57% of part-time volunteers had volunteered for a Jewish organization.

  • Denominational affiliation mostly Reform (41%), secular/cultural Jewish (23%) and "just Jewish" (12%); approximately 19% of Jewish adults are Conservative Jews, 3% Orthodox.

  • Among children enrolled in kindergarten through the eighth grade, 6% were enrolled in a Jewish day school, 9% in other private schools, 15% in a charter school and 70% in public education. 39% of children (K-8)not in day school have had some Jewish education.

  • Among children in high schools, 86% public HS, 8% private HS and 6% other educational locus; 82% of children have had some Jewish education, including 41% in a Jewish day school.

    Final section "Looking to the Future" attempts to answer - complex answers require reading the Report - three questions which had initially spurred the community to undertake a Jewish demographic study: (1) Is the Jewish Community growing faster than the Non-Jewish community? (2) Is the Jewish community less affluent than similar communities? (3) Do the unaffiliated chose not to affiliate because they are unaware of what the Jewish community has to offer or because of the concerns over the costs of affiliation?

  • Sample: Jewish households in Asheville, Hendersonville, Brevard and Franklin, North Carolina.

    Sample Size: 676 Jewish households.

    Sample Notes: Dual sampling frame methodology utilized:

  • (1) Jewish Community List Frame: "Known" Jewish households in the western North Carolina region, based on de-duplication of names and addresses from Jewish organizations within the area, which included Asheville, Hendersonville, Brevard and Franklin; number of HH in this sampling frame was 2,890;

  • (2) "Unknown" Jewish households based on a list supplied by AccuData of potential Jewish households in the area plus households with either Russian or Belarusian ancestry. After removing households on the "known" lists, 5,231 HH remained in this sampling frame.

  • Sample selected for survey inclusion included 800 from the Jewish Community Lists and 450 from the AccuData sample.

  • Survey details in report and in Methodological Appendix - combination of Internet survey, telephone calls to households which did not respond to the Internet survey and a shortened mail survey to households which had not completed either the Internet or the telephone survey.
  • Study Notes: Methodological Appendix summarizes key issues:

  • Authors report that the overall response rate for the multi-mode survey was 57% (AAPOR RR2).

  • Section on Bias summarizes the potential for bias in all Jewish community studies, but especially in smaller communities, and in Western North Carolina.

  • Downloads

    Survey Reports

    » Summary Report
    (PDF)

    Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

    » Questionnaire
    (PDF)

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