Jewish Community of Vancouver, 2011

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation Greater Vancouver, Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA

Principal Investigator(s): Charles Shahar, Shelley Rivkin, Randal Schnoor

Population Estimates:

26,255 Jewish persons resided in Greater Vancouver in 2011, representing 1.2% of the total population of Greater Vancouver.

There are 14,040 Jewish households in Greater Vancouver, comprising 1.6% of the total of
891,300 households in this metropolitan area.

Key Findings:

There are eight reports (in four volumes) on Jewish Vancouver, plus an unnumbered Brief focusing on Jewish fertility rates. All data are based on the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey.

The first report on the Jewish community of Greater Vancouver was released in June 2014 by Charles Shahar and Shelley Rivkin, based on data from the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey.  The report was divided into two sections: one on Basic Demographics and one on Geographic Areas of Residence.  In September 2014, the same authors released a combined Part 3 on Jewish Seniors and Part 4 on The Jewish Poor.  In January 2015, Shahar, Rivkin and Randal Schnoor issued Part 5: The Jewish Family and Part 6: Intermarriage as a combined volume.  In April 2015, Shahar issued a Brief on Jewish Fertiility Ratesin Greater Vanacouver.  In September, 2015, Shahar and Rivkin issued Part 7 on Immigration & Language and Part 8 on Core FSU Jews.

Population and Demographics

• The Jewish population of Greater Vancouver was 26,255 in 2011. Jews comprised 1.2% of the total Vancouver population.

• Between 2001 and 2011 the Jewish community grew by 3,255 people, or 14.2%, a significantly higher increase than that for the overall Jewish population of Canada (which was 4.7%).

• Greater Vancouver has the third largest Jewish community in Canada, and about 6.7% of the country’s Jewish population.

• Within the Greater Vancouver Jewish community, the 45-64 age group has increased significantly since 2001. . This age group represents the “Baby Boomer” generation.

• Children (0-14 years) have had the next largest gain, increasing from 3,835 to 4,690
individuals between 2001 and 2011, a difference of 855 persons.

• The seniors (65+ years) cohort is steadily increasing and will likely experience a significant rise as the Baby Boomers begin to swell its ranks by the next National Household Survey in 2021.

• The median age of the Greater Vancouver Jewish community (40.3 years) is almost the same as the median age of the total Canadian Jewish population (40.5 years).

• A significant proportion (75%) of the Jewish population in this province is located in the
Greater Vancouver area.


• The area with the largest Jewish population in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area
(CMA) is the City of Vancouver (14,325), more specifically, the West Side (9,560).

• The West Side of Vancouver has the highest density of Jews, who comprise 3.9% of its total populace.

• The West Side of Vancouver also has the most Jewish seniors (1,425). However, the West End of Vancouver has the highest density of Jewish elderly. Almost a quarter (24.3%) of Jews living in the West End are seniors, comprising 575 individuals.

• Jewish residents residing in in the West End have a median age of 47.6 years, the highest of any Jewish population in the Vancouver CMA. The lowest median age is found for the Burnaby / New Westminster Jewish community, at 33.4 years.

• There are no specific Jewish neighborhoods in the Vancouver CMA. Jews represent a significant ethnic minority only in the West Side of Vancouver City, where they rank as the fifth largest ethnic group.

Jewish Seniors

• There are 3,620 Jewish elderly 65+ years residing in the Vancouver CMA.

• Seniors comprise 13.8% of the 26,245 members of the Jewish community.

• The percentage of elderly in the Greater Vancouver Jewish community (13.8%) is slightly higher than the proportion of seniors in the overall population (12.8%). However, the percentage of Jewish seniors is lower than that for the Canadian Jewish population (16.9%).

• A significant number of elderly Jews reside on the West Side of Vancouver (1,425). The
West End (575) and Richmond City (555) also have large contingents of Jewish seniors.

• While seniors represent 13.8% of all Greater Vancouver's Jews, they account for 27.7% of all Jews who live alone.

• Almost half (42.6%) of elderly women in the Greater Vancouver Jewish community live alone; only 17% of senior Jewish men live alone.

• Among the elder Jewish population, 600 seniors live below the poverty line (16.6%).

• A significant percentage (41.9%) of elderly women who live alone are poor; the number of poor elderly women in single person households is more than three times that of men.

 • Almost half (49.6%) of Jewish seniors in the local community, or 1,765 persons, report
experiencing one or more disabilities.

The Jewish Poor

• There are 4,220 Jews living below the poverty line in the Vancouver CMA.

• The poor comprise 16.1% of a total population of 26,195 Jews residing in the local community.

• The number of Jewish poor has increased significantly in the last decade, with 4,220
disadvantaged individuals in 2011 compared to 3,275 in 2001.

• The level of poverty among children 0-14 years in the Vancouver Jewish population is
13.4%. There are 630 children in the local Jewish community who live in economically
disadvantaged circumstances.

• Most of the Jewish poor live on the West Side of Vancouver (1,535), but there are also
significant numbers in Richmond City (450), the West End (405), and on the East Side (385).

• There are 1,175 “working poor” in the local Jewish community who earn wages that are not sufficient for their income to be above the poverty line.

The Jewish Family

• Within the Jewish community, the current level of those living in family arrangements
(79.3%) is identical to that of 1991.

• In 1991, there were 1,820 Greater Vancouver Jews living in single parent families. When
compared to the 2011 figure of 2,515, this represents an increase of 38.2% in the last two

• More than one in ten Jewish children (< 15 years) in Greater Vancouver live in lone parent families (12.8%).

• In the last decade, the fastest growing groups as far as marital status is concerned were those choosing to live in common law arrangements (+23.7%).

• Persons living alone comprise 14.9% of the total Jewish population in this metropolitan area.


43.4% of Jewish spouses / partners are married to, or partnered with, non-Jews in the Vancouver metropolitan area. This figure is considered to be the intermarriage rate for the Greater Vancouver Jewish community.  (In absolute terms, 5,195 of 11,975 Jewish spouses / partners are intermarried.)

• There has been an increase of 56.7% of Jews living in intermarried households in the last two decades. The number has climbed from 4,990 to 7,820 individuals between 1991-2011.

• As a proportion of the total Jewish population, the percentage of Jews living in intermarried households increased from 37.3% in 1991 to 43.5% in 2011.

• In cases where both spouses are less than 30 years of age, the level of intermarriage is 63.3%. It is 38.8% when both spouses are at least 40 years old

• Intermarried individuals are much more inclined to live in common law partnerships (26.2%), compared to arrangements where both spouses are Jewish (4.3%).

• Almost half of Jewish children under 15 years of age (living in couple families) reside in intermarried arrangements (48.4%). This represents 1,850 children.

• Regarding the youngest children of intermarried couples, almost a quarter (22.3%) are identified by their parents as Jews; about two-thirds (68.7%) are assigned no religious affiliation; and the rest (9%) are identified as having other religions.

• Whether it is the husband or the wife who is of the Jewish faith has a significant bearing on the religious orientation of their children.

Immigration & Language

• About a third (36.6%) of the Greater Vancouver Jewish population are immigrants; the percentage of immigrants among Greater Vancouver's Jewish population is higher than that of any major Jewish centre in Canada.

• Of a total of 129,680 Jewish immigrants residing in Canada, 7.4% live in the Vancouver
metropolitan area.

• In the local Jewish population, there are 2,035 Jews who were born in the Former Soviet
Union. There are also 1,915 Jews who were born in the United States, 1,650 born in Israel,
1,425 in Western Europe, 550 in Eastern Europe, 285 in South America, and 275 in North
Africa / Middle East (excluding Israel).

• Between 2000-2011, the largest number of Jewish immigrants came from Israel (885). The next largest group came from the Former Soviet Union (730), followed by the United States (505).

• Jewish immigrants to Canada born in Israel are the youngest of any immigrant group in the Vancouver Jewish community, with a median age of 37.1 years. The oldest groups include Jews born in Poland (74.1 years), Czechoslovakia (68.7 years), and Hungary (65.3 years).

• The West Side of Vancouver has the largest number of foreign-born Jews in the metropolitan area (3,265), followed by Richmond City (1,605), the West End (1,115), and Burnaby / New Westminster (615).

• Jewish immigrants who arrived between 2005-2011 have a 24.8% level of poverty, compared to 18.7% of those who arrived between 2000-2011. The level of economic disadvantage then drops to 12.7% for those who arrived between 1990-1999, and it is 12.9% for those who came between 1980-1989.

• There is a window of economic vulnerability that lasts for about a decade, and is especially stark in the five years immediately following an immigrant’s arrival here. Within twenty years of arriving in Canada, the poverty level of immigrants rises above the rate for the overall Jewish community.

Core FSU Jews

• The total number of Core FSU Jews in the Vancouver CMA is 3,270; individuals of Core FSU background comprise 12.5% of the total population of 26,265 Jews residing in the Greater Vancouver Area.

• The median age of Core FSU Jews (35.5 years) is lower than that of "Other Jews" living in the Vancouver CMA (41.1 years).

• There is a large representation of Core FSU Jews in Richmond City (905). There are also
large contingents of Core FSU Jews in the West Side of Vancouver (615), and Port
Coquitlam / Coquitlam / Port Moody (395); other areas with at least 300 Jews of Core FSU extraction include the West End (330) and Burnaby / New Westminster (320).

• Core FSU Jews comprise almost a third (30%) of the Port Coquitlam /Coquitlam / Port Moody Jewish population. They also comprise more than a quarter (25.6%) of the Richmond City Jewish population, and about a fifth (20.1%) of the Burnaby / New
Westminster Jewish population.

Fertility Rates

A Brief on the "Fertility Rates of Vancouver's Jewish Community" was added to the 2011 Jewish NHS analysis in April 2015, paralleling a similarly issued five-to-six page “Brief” for most of the major Jewish communities in Canada.  Table 1 indicates that the Jewish fertility rate estimate is 1.86 for Greater Vancouver's Jewish population (below the standard 2.1 replacement rate standard).  Other tables compare fertility rates among Jewish communities in Canada, and to fertility rates among major ethnic groups in Canada.



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