Jewish Population in the United States, 2015 (Sheskin, Dashefsky - American Jewish Year Book)

Sponsor(s): American Jewish Year Book, Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry (ASSJ), Berman Jewish DataBank@The Jewish Federations of North America, Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ Stanford, University of Connecticut - Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Miami - Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Jewish Studies

Principal Investigator(s): Ira M. Sheskin, Arnold Dashefsky

Population Estimates:

Jewish Population Estimate: AYJB 2015:

The American Jewish Year Book estimate by Sheskin and Dashefsky for the American Jewish community in 2015 is 6.830 million Jews, an increase of about 54,000 from the 2014 estimate. The precise number of Jews used in all tabular analyses in the Year Book article is 6,829,930. 

Allowing for potential double counting, the Year Book estimate if 6.7-6.8 million Jewish, based on data from over 900 American Jewish communities.

DataBank users interested in the Jewish population estimate of their local community should consult the Appendix PDF and/or the downloadable Excel file which documents sources, dates, etc., of Jewish community population estimates.


Key Findings:

The Berman Jewish DataBank report on the Jewish Population in the United States, 2015, written by Dr. Ira Sheskin and Dr. Arnold Dashefsky, derives from Chapter 5 of the 2015 American Jewish Year Book (of which the authors of the U.S. Jewish Population article are co-editors). 

The authors review  a number of recent estimates of the United States Jewish population, as well as recent survey data on American Jews in the broader context of America's religious structure, and other Jewish population estimates.

Jewish Population Estimate: AYJB 2015

"...Based on a summation of local Jewish community estimates in the Appendix, the estimated size of the American Jewish community in 2015 is 6.830 million Jews, an increase of about 54,000 from the 2014 estimate. Allowing for some double counting ... the American Jewish Year Book estimate is 6.7 - 6.8 million. This estimate is based on the aggregation of local estimates of more than 900 American Jewish communities and parts thereof. The bulk of the estimate is based on studies conducted over the past decade."

The precise number of Jews used in all tabular analyses in the Year Book article is 6,829,930.

Organization of data presentation:

• Table 1 provides a state-by-state estimate of the number of Jewish persons, the percentage of each state's population which is Jewish, and the percentage of each state of the total number of Jews in the United States (pages 14-15 of report).

• Table 2  Regional estimates of the number of Jewish persons, which shows (for example) that 44% of American Jews live in the Northeastern Census Region compared to 18% of the total US population.

• Table 3 shows the Jewish population of the largest 20 MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas), while Table 4 lists the top 20 largest Combined Statistical Areas).

• Table 5 lists Jewish population estimates for Jewish Federation service areas where the Jewish population is at least 20,000.

• Table 6 (pages 22-23 of report) shows US Jewish population estimates by STATE for 1971 and 2015, indicating numerical and percentage changes over the time period.  In Table 7, Jewish population change 1971-2015 is analyzed by Census Region.  Thus, while 44% of Jews live in the Northeast in 2015, in 1971, the comparable percentage was 63%.

• Part VII: Atlas of American Jewish Communities (pages 46-73 of report) includes a series of maps on US Jewish population distribution.  Map 5 visually organizes data on US Jewish population by county (following Comenetz, 2011), and then presents regional US Jewish population maps (and analysis) in Maps 6-19.

• Appendix Table (pages 82--123 of report) which summarizes the number of Jewish persons in communities of at least 100 or more Jews, organized by State and then by communities withing each state.


The results of three recent Jewish community studies are summarized in Part V (pages 28-38 of report) -  Columbus, Ohio 2013, Miami, FL 2014, and St. Louis, MO 2014.

Two additional tables compare many US Jewish communities in terms of the percentage foreign-born adults (Table 8, pages 39-41) and secular education (Table 9, pages 43-45 of report).

Study Notes:

This article on the Jewish Population in the United States, 2015 is published as Current Jewish Population Reports, # 13, 2015 of the Berman Jewish DataBank at The Jewish Federations of North America, and is posted with permission of Springer, the current publisher of the American Jewish Year Book.

The Year Book had been published in 108 volumes from 1899 to 2008, until succeeded by the newYearbook, edited by Dashefsky and Sheskin. Please see the Links for U.S. Jewish population estimates from earlier years, including the American Jewish Year Book estimates from 1899-2008.

Please note that the complete American Jewish Year Book is available via links on the left side of this page, and contains a wealth of additional materials on America's Jewish community as of 2015.  Please note that persons with access to University libraries that offer Springer’s eBook Collection can obtain a soft cover copy or an electronic copy at a sharply discounted price.

Citing Report:

Springer is permitting us to post this Report on line with open access, but requests that the citation be to the American Jewish Year Book itself: Ira M. Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky. “Jewish Population in the United States, 2015,” in Arnold Dashefsky and Ira M. Sheskin. (Editors) The American Jewish Year Book, 2015, Volume 115 (2015) (Dordrecht: Springer) pp. 163-260.  Following standard bibliographic practices, this could be followed by " found at the Berman Jewish DataBank:"

Language: English