Canadian Jewish Population, 2016 (Shahar, AJYB)

Sponsor(s): American Jewish Year Book, Association for the Scientific Study of Jewry, Berman Jewish DataBank@The Jewish Federations of North America, Berman Jewish Policy Archive at Stanford, Mandell and Madeleine Berman Foundation, 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): Charles Shahar

Study Dates: 2016 Jewish Population Estimates for Canada

Population Estimates:

Summary report by Charles Shahar is based on results of the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey, and was published as chapter 16 in the American Jewish Year Book, 2016.

The entire series of monographs written by Charles Shahar (and co-authors) on Jews in Canada based on the 2011 National Household Survey is available at the Berman Jewish DataBank.

Jewish Population Estimates

Shahar notes that the Canadian Jewish population as of the 2011 National Household Survey was 391,665, an increase of 4.7% since the 2001 Canadian National Census reports on Jewish Canada were issued. From 1991 the Canadian Jewish population increased by 9.1% while the general population grew by 21.7%.

• Canadian Jews represent 1.2% of Canada's 32.9 million population in 2011;

• The Jewish community ranked seventeenth among ethnic groups in Canada. The ten largest ethnic affiliations were British (6.5 million), Canadian (6.0 million), French (3.7 million), German (2.4 million), Aboriginal (1.8 million), Chinese (1.5 million), Italian (1.4 million), East Indian (1.1 million), Ukrainian (1 million), and Polish (644,700). 

• In 2011, the Jewish community ranked seventh with respect to religious identity. The five largest religious groups in Canada were Catholics (12.8 million), Protestants (8.7 million), Muslims (1.0 million), Christian Orthodox (550,690), and Hindus (497,965).

• Almost one-quarter (23.9%) of the total Canadian population, or about 7.9 million
persons, indicated that they had no religious identity. This category included persons who defined themselves as agnostics, atheists, or humanists or who did not identify with any religion at all. It is not clear to what extent highly secular Jews said they had no religious identity. It is thus possible that these individuals were under-represented in the final count of Jews (unless they indicated a Jewish ethnicity).

Table 1 in the report provides an excellent historical summary of the number of Jewish persons in Canada from 1901 through 2011.

Table 2 shows Jewish population distribution by province; Ontario's 226,610 Jewish persons represent 57.9% of all Canadian Jews, while Quebec's 93,625 Jews are 23.9% of the Canadian total

Table 3 summarizes the 20 largest Jewish communities in Canada, led by Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.  

Key Findings:

Charles Shahar provides an easily accessible overview of Canadian Jewry in a relatively brief article which was originally published in The American Jewish Year Book, 2016.  Shahar summarizes data on Canada's Jewish population  based on the findings of the 2011 National Household Survey of Canada, which (unlike the United States Census) includes information on respondent's religion.

DataBank users may want to read Shahar's 2016 American Jewish Year Book article for a basic introduction to the Jewish demographics of Canada, and then explore the wealth of data on Canadian Jews in the 2011 Jewish analysis series from the National Household Survey (see link on left to Canadian NHS reports). 

Included in the 2016 brief summary article are sections on the age structure of the Canadian Jewish community, the estimated 17,500 Holocaust Survivors residing in Canada and a description of the Toronto Jewish community.  

Shahar notes that, "The data for the Toronto community suggests that as the Baby Boomers become seniors, their needs will become more evident and likely require more attention from the Jewish service establishment."

Study Notes:

This summary article on the Jewish Population in Canada, 2016 is published as Current Jewish Population Reports, # 18, 2016 of the Berman Jewish DataBank at The Jewish Federations of North America  It derives from Chapter 16 of the American Jewish Year Book, 2016.

The article is posted with permission of Springer, the current publisher of the American Jewish Year Book (AJYB). For more information about the American Jewish Year Book see the links on the left.  Hard bound and Kindle copies are available at Persons with access to University libraries that offer Springer’s eBook Collection can obtain a soft cover copy or an electronic copy.

Citations to this article.

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:

Charles Shahar. “Canadian Jewish Population, 2016,” in Arnold Dashefsky and Ira M. Sheskin. (Editors) The American Jewish Year Book, 2016, Volume 116 (2016) (Dordrecht: Springer) pp. 241-251.

Following standard bibliographic practices, this could be followed by " found at the Berman Jewish DataBank:"

Language: English


Survey Reports

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