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March 16, 1990 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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12

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 1990

I

Rust Belt

Continued from Page 1

Jewish Population

1964

1972

1981

1983

1989

Detroit

84,600

80,000

75,000

70,000

96,000

Chicago

285,000 269,000 253,000 253,000 248,000

Cleveland

85,000

80,000

75,000

70,000

65,000

Milwaukee

30,000

23,900

23,900

23,900

29,000

Minneapolis/
St. Paul

32,000

31,640

32,750

31,250

29,700

St. Louis

57,000

60,000

60,000

53,500

53,500

ing," says Barry Kosmin,
the director for the North
American Jewish Data Bank
at the City University of
New York. "They didn't
know. They were one of the
last larger Jewish com-
munities to conduct a major
study. They guessed based
on lists."
Detroit is not alone in its
erroneous population repor-
ting. Studies in the last
decade revealed Jewish
population gains in the
Sunbelt areas, and in some
communities thought to be
stable or shrinking.
For example, San Fran-
cisco and the surrounding
areas of Oakland and San
Jose expected to find 80,000
to 100,000 Jews when they
launched a demographic
study in 1986. Instead, they
identified 223,000 Jews liv-
ing in the Bay area.
San Diego, too,
underestimated its Jewish
population. In 1989, expec-
ting to locate 37,000 Jews,
the San Diego federation
discovered 72,000 Jews liv-
ing in the city.
Even New York City Jew-
ish leaders thought their
population was shrinking a
bit. Expecting to find under
1 million Jews living in the
five boroughs in 1981, a
survey identified 1.1 million.
New Haven, Conn.,
thought it had 21,000 Jew-
ish residents and found
28,000. And Rochester, N.Y.,
expected to find 20,000 and
identified 25,000 Jewish
people.
Chicago, viewed as a
stable community, is star-
ting a demographic study
this spring. Peter Friedman,
Chicago federation planner,
says he doesn't expect the
248,000 figure to drastically
change. An expected 4,000 to
5,000 Soviet Jews, however,
could boost the population,
he says.
Some communal experts
speculate that Jewish com-
munities intentionally
underestimate populations
to bolster per capita giving

figures or to keep national
dues to the CJF at a
minimum. Yet dues are bas-
ed largely on Campaign fig-
ures. The difference in dues
for Detroit at 96,000 instead
of 70,000 will be nominal.
The per capita giving fig-
ure, however, decreases
substantially for Detroit.
With a population of 70,000,
the average gift to the Allied
Jewish Campaign was $400.
At 96,000, that average gift
drops to $292 per person.
Federation officials say
such figures are mean-
ingless, adding their reputa-
tion as a generous commun-
ity remains intact. With
either figure, they say,
Detroit's Jewish community
remains second to Cleveland
among the largest U.S. Jew-
ish communities in terms of
per capita giving.
Identifying Jewish popula-
tions has never been easy. In
1970, systematic Jewish-
sponsored data collection in
the Diaspora was in its in-
itial stages. Insufficient
demographic documentation
led to the wide use of esti-
mates, which were used for
updating sound empirical
figures in the absence of
basic data collection.
In addition, the U.S. Cen-
sus has never included re-
ligion, largely due to the
constitutional principle of
separation of church and
state. And defining who is a
Jew has complicated repor-
ting of Jewish population
statistics.



Nalkmat Group
Will Meet

The Avodah, Chai, Brandeis
Chapter, Na'Amat U.S.A., will
hold a luncheon and general
business meeting at noon,
March 19, at the Whitehall
Apartment Clubhouse.

Vegas Night

Cong. Beth Shalom will
sponsor its annual Las Vegas
Night March 17. Proceeds
will benefit the synagogue.

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