The Jewish Community of Calgary, 2011

Sponsor(s): Calgary Jewish Federation

Principal Investigator(s): Charles Shahar

Study Dates: 2011

Key Findings:

Data about the Jewish Community of Calgary are based on the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey.  Part 1 Basic Population Demographics and Part 2 Geographic Areas of Residence were issued as a combined report in June, 2014. Part 3 on Jewish Seniors and Part 4 on The Jewish Poor were released as a combined report in September, 2014

Population and Demography

• The Jewish population of Calgary was 8,340 in 2011. Jews comprised 0.7% of the total
Calgary population.

• Between 2001 and 2011 the Jewish community grew by 260 people, or 3.2%. In the context of this finding, certain methodological considerations related to the National Household Survey are discussed in this report.

• Calgary has the sixth largest Jewish community in Canada, and about 2.1% of the country’s Jewish population.

• Regarding the age distribution of the Calgary Jewish community, the 45-64 age group has increased significantly since 2001. There were 2,545 individuals in this cohort in 2011,
compared to 2,130 in 2001. This age group represents the Baby Boomer generation.

• The median age of the Calgary Jewish community (39.2 years) is somewhat younger than that of the Canadian Jewish population (40.5 years), but older than that of the total Calgary population (36 years).

• The size of the Jewish community’s population ranks twentieth among ethnic groups in
Calgary. The top five ethnic affiliations include British, German, Canadian, Chinese, and

• Jews rank eighth in size among religious groups. The top five religious affiliations include
Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists.


• A majority (52.8%) of the Jewish population in Alberta resides in the Calgary metropolitan area.

• The area with the largest Jewish population in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) is the SW sector, with 5,285 Jews. Almost two-thirds (63.4%) of Calgary’s Jewish
community lives in the SW region.

• The NW sector has the next largest number of Jews, with 1,260 individuals, or 15.1% of the total Calgary Jewish population. The SE Sector has 1,125 Jewish residents.

• The highest concentration of Jews is found in the SW sector, where Jews comprise 1.7% of the total population.

Jewish Seniors

There are 1,110 Jewish elderly 65+ years residing in the Calgary CMA. Seniors comprise
13.3% of the 8,335 members of the Jewish community here. There are 515 individuals 75+
years, comprising 6.2% of the local Jewish population. These figures do not include Jewish seniors living in institutions.

• The percentage of elderly in the Jewish community (13.3%) is higher than the proportion of seniors in the overall Calgary population (8.9%). However, the percentage of Jewish seniors here is significantly lower than that for the Canadian Jewish population (16.9%).

• A significant number of elderly Jews reside in the SW sector of Calgary (845). There are 120 seniors residing in the SE sector, and 115 in the NW quadrant.

• More than a third (35.4%) of elderly Jewish women live alone, comprising 170 individuals.
Only 14% of men live in single person households, comprising 80 persons. There are 155
elderly Jewish women in the Calgary CMA who are widowed.

• A total of 150 seniors live below the poverty line, or 13.5% of the elderly Jewish population - - More than half (56.8%) of seniors, or 605 individuals, report experiencing some type of disability.

• Statistical projections suggest that the figure of 1,110 Jewish seniors in 2011 will increase to 1,987 by 2021. This increase has important implications for service planning and the future allocation of community resources.

The Jewish Poor

There are 905 Jews living below the poverty line in the Calgary CMA.

The poor comprise 10.9% of a total population of 8,325 Jews residing in the local community.

There are 280 “working poor” in the Calgary Jewish community who earn wages that are not sufficient to push their income above the poverty line.


Study Notes:

DataBank users should review the Appendices to the report in addition to the main text and summary of findings. 

The Appendices include discussions of the utility of the National Household Survey of 2011 (which replaced earlier Census "long-form" data collection efforts), a discussion of the Revised Jewish Definition used in 2011 and a comparison with the Standard Jewish Definition used in earlier Census-based reports on Jewish Canada, a discussion of ethnic origin attribution used in the definition of Jewish persons, and supplemental, additional tables on both demographics and geography

Language: English