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“The Jewish community in the Greater Washington, DC region is the third largest and one of the fastest growing in the United States”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

Ed. Note: D.C. proper’s Jewish population is 57,300 out of nearly 700,000 or about 8%. The percentage of the Jewish population in the whole U.S. is between 1.7% and 2.6%.

From The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington:

“The Jewish community in the Greater Washington, DC region is the third largest and one of the fastest growing in the United States, with Jews constituting roughly 6% of the area population, according to the just-released 2017 Greater Washington Jewish Community Demographic Study.

Funded by The Morningstar Foundation and conducted by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University, the study employed innovative, state-of-the-art methods to create a comprehensive portrait of the characteristics, attitudes and behaviors of Greater Washington’s Jewish community. The report incorporated both local and national trends and developments.

The study can be found in its entirety here.

The first comprehensive study of the area to be conducted since 2003, the study found that Greater Washington is home to nearly 300,000 Jewish adults and children in over 155,000 households. That is an increase of roughly 80,000 Jews, or 37%, to the area in the last 15 years.

In one of the more striking results, the Northern Virginia Jewish population has grown substantially since 2003 and now represents 41% of the local Jewish community, with 121,500 individuals living in 63,700 households throughout Fairfax, Prince William and Loudon Counties and the cities of Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park.

The Jewish population in Greater Washington is not only growing, but also quite rooted in the community. Despite the perception of Washington, DC as a transient city, an overwhelming 94% of Jews consider Washington and the surrounding suburbs as their home base. One-quarter of Jewish adults have lived in Metro DC for fewer than 10 years.

Susie and Michael Gelman, directors of The Morningstar Foundation, noted, “We funded this study because we knew that our community had grown significantly since 2003, when the last demographic study was performed. The results of the study will be immensely beneficial to all communal institutions involved in planning and providing services that will strengthen our vibrant community.”

The study results offer a clear picture of the ways in which the markedly diverse Greater Washington Jewish population has evolved, both demographically and in the ways in which its members engage with their community and with Israel.

Among the findings:

Greater Washington, DC’s Jewish community numbers nearly 300,000 Jewish adults and children in over 155,000 households.

Metro DC’s Jews are younger than the national Jewish population. Compared to the national Jewish population, the Washington-area Jewish community has proportionally more adults ages 30-39 and fewer who are ages 40-64.

The community is diverse. Seven percent of of adults identify as LGBTQ, and 7% as a person of color or Hispanic/Latino. Among households with married or partnered Jews, 53% of couples include someone who does not identify as Jewish.

A greater share of Metro DC’s Jews are Democrats compared to Jews nationally. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Metro DC’s Jews identify as Democrats, 6% as Republicans, 15% as independents, and 8% other.

The District of Columbia is home to 19% of area Jews, Suburban Maryland is home to 39% of area Jews, and Northern Virginia is home to 41% of area Jews.

Despite the perception of DC as a “transient community,” 94% of Jews consider the Metro DC area to be their “home base.”

Overall, 85% of children in Jewish households are being raised Jewish in some way. Forty percent of Jewish children in grades K-12 are enrolled in Jewish part-time school or Jewish day school.

Metro DC Jews are less likely than US Jews overall to identify with a specific denomination. Over one-third (39%) of Metro DC Jews indicate that they have no denomination, compared to 30% of all US Jews. Twenty-six percent of households belong to a synagogue or another Jewish worship community of some type.

Approximately two-thirds (68%) of Washington-area Jews have been to Israel or have lived there. One-third (34%) of Washington-area Jews feel very connected to Israel.

Jewish community ties are not central to Washington-area Jews. Just over one-quarter (28%) feel that being part of a community is an essential part of being Jewish. One-third (33%) feel very connected to the global Jewish community and 15% feel very connected to the local Jewish community. However, 60% say at least half of their closest friends are Jewish.

Forty-one percent of Jewish adults did some volunteer activity in the past month, either with Jewish or non-Jewish organizations.

For volunteering and charitable donations, the most popular cause among Metro DC’s Jews is education.

Eighty-seven percent of Jewish adults made a charitable contribution in the past year.

The majority of DC-area Jewish households are financially comfortable, with 45% describing their standard of living as being prosperous or very comfortable, and another 44% reporting they are reasonably comfortable. Economic insecurity may be a concern for some Jewish households. Thirteen percent of Jewish households do not have enough savings to cover three months of expenses.

An estimated 18% of Jewish households include someone with a health limitation.”

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