Who is officially considered a practitioner of Judaism? Just becomes some claims to be of the Jewish faith doesn’t actually make them a practitioner and that can make it difficult to track the demographics of this religion. What we do know is that there is only one Jewish majority state in the world today: Israel.
As many Jews live in Israel as they do in the United States. There are estimated to be about 15 million Jews in the world today.
What You Need to Know About Judaism
Just identifying someone as a practitioner of Judaism is difficult enough, but like in most other faiths, there are different branches of faith that are followed. Part of this comes from the fact that there are essentially two groups of Judaic populations that formed based on personal practices and beliefs: Sephardic and Ashkenzai. From there, Judaism can be broken down into Conservatism, Orthodox, and Reformed. Ultra-orthodox and non-denominational groups also exist.
- Jewish population growth worldwide is close to 0%. It has annual rises of 0.3% on average, which is about 5x lower than the rest of the world.
- In 2001, 8 countries had a Jewish population of 100,000 or more. If the population threshold drops to 50,000, another 5 countries join the list.
- Outside of Israel, not a single country has a Judaism population that is more than 2.5%.
- Since the Holocaust, the Jewish population has been unable to reach the same population numbers they once had.
- Only 2.8 million, or 51 percent, of Jewish Americans say that their religion is Jewish.
- 1.4 million adults who were raised as Jewish are now members of a different religion, which is double the amount of Jewish adults that joined another religion in 1990.
- One-third of Jews are actually married to people who are not Jewish. This is triple the rates of intermarriage that happened in 1965.
- 14% of people who consider themselves to be Jewish also consider themselves to be atheist, which is 4x the rates of the general population.
- 60% of Jews below the age of 40 live in non-Jewish households.
Some might choose to deny the Holocaust ever occurred, but there is no denying the fact that millions of Jews from the population base were suddenly lost from 1939-1945. This has not only made it difficult for their population to recover, but it also makes people hesitant to fully identify with their faith. Some are even choosing to abandoned their faith, even though they still consider themselves to be Jewish. In the last 70 years, the Jewish population has only risen by about 3 million people. This is directly reflected in the children that Jewish couples are having. The average couple in the Jewish faith has 1.4 children. The average amount of children needed for population replenishment: 2.1 children per couple.
Is Judaism Losing Its Flavor?
- Only 11% of those who were born Jewish or became Jewish by choice attend the Beth Hatefillah every week.
- Judaism composes just 0.20% of the entire world population.
- 43% of the world’s total Jewish population lives in Israel. Another 39% of Jews call the United States their home.
- In the US, just 12% of Jews consider themselves to be of the Orthodox faith. 42% consider themselves to be Reformed, while 29% consider themselves to be Conservative.
- From a global perspective, 1 out of every 5 Jews describes themselves as having no religion at all.
- Jews that were born after 1980 are the most likely to say that they they don’t belong to a religion.
- The average household size for Orthodox Jews is higher than any other denomination at 2.6 members per household.
- 48% of those raised as Orthodox Jews are stilling currently practicing the Orthodox faith.
- 2 out of 3 Jews say that being Jewish isn’t a matter of religion, but is instead a matter of culture and ancestry.
Judaism may not be growing very quickly because a number of Jews just don’t seem themselves as part of the “flock.” Those within the Orthodox faith are doing the most work to keep population numbers up and it is working to some extent, but not at the same pace as the global population. In current trends, by the year 2050, there will be 10 billion humans living on the planet. That will be the same year that the Jewish population will be able to say that they have finally reached population numbers that were present before the Holocaust. Think about that – it will have taken over 110 years for the Jewish population to recover from the events of World War II. That’s a sobering fact indeed.
Jews Have A Unique World View
- Only 1 in 4 Jews in the United States identify themselves as being Republican or leaning toward the Republican point of view.
- 73%. That’s the percentage of Jews who say that remembering the Holocaust is what is most important about being Jewish. It even beats leading an ethical or moral life, which 69% of Jews feel is important.
- Only 43% of Jews in the world today say that caring about the nation of Israel is important to the Jewish experience.
- The percentage of the Jewish population who say it is important to be eating traditional Jewish foods: 14%.
- 19% of Jews in the world today say that observing the older rabbinical laws is important.
- Most Jews in the United States call the Northeast part of the country their home, with 46% of the total population living there.
- 34% of Jews say that someone can still be Jewish even if they believe Jesus was the messiah.
- More younger people in the Jewish faith, particularly the 18-29 age demographic, are coming back to the Orthodox version of Judaism than any other population group.
- Just 4% of those raised in Conservative Judaism have become Orthodox.
- 30% of those raised in Conservative Judaism have become Reform Jews.
There is no doubt that it is difficult to be Jewish in the world today. Even though there are laws against discrimination in place, it is starting to become more common to boycott Jewish businesses around the world. People of the Jewish faith are facing difficult times in certain countries and this is causing them to congregate in specific areas around the world. Just 6 countries hold 90% of the world’s Jewish population. Despite this fact, however, many Jews are welcoming other faith perspectives with open arms. Even 1 in 3 Jews say that a person can meet the definition of being a “Christian” and still also meet the definition of being a “Jew” as well. Many of these shifts are similar to what society is seeing today as a whole. 1 in 5 Jews doesn’t affiliate with a religion and that’s the same number in the general population.
Has The Tradition Gone Out Of The Jewish Faith?
- 13%. That’s the number of Jews who say that they can read either all Hebrew words or at least a majority of them.
- 82% of Jews today say that homosexuality should be accepted by society today.
- 1 out of every 5 Jews who say that they aren’t religious will still attend the High Holiday services.
- 27% of Jews don’t consider themselves Jewish.
- 31% of Jews consider themselves to be Jewish because Jesus was also Jewish.
- The percentage of Jews who consider themselves to be part of their population group because of what the Bible says: 2%.
- One-third of Jews will have a Christmas tree in their home every year, but only 1% of ultra-orthodox Jews will put up a Christmas tree.
- 58% of Jews who were married between 2000-2013 have a spouse that is of a different faith. Those who were married before 1970 have a spouse of a different faith just 17% of the time.
- 70% of Jews say that they still participate in the Passover meal every year and more than half of all Jews say that they will fast during Yom Kippur.
As the world has started to evolve over the last 200 years, so has the Jewish faith. A 17th century Jew would have no idea what to think or believe if they saw the divisions in faith and perspectives that are being seen today. Part of this is because of the events of the 20th century, but there is also the evolutionary component of faith that must be looked at. Jews today are seeing different components of fact within their scriptures that is causing them to approach faith differently. Many say that it is possible to not believe in God, yet still be Jewish. In this way, one could say that being Jewish is more of a cultural component today than it is a religious experience – something that has completely reversed the Jewish faith in just a couple of centuries.