The size and relative growth of the Jewish population is unresolved, based on several recent studies, because there is much debate over how a Jew is defined â€” whether by parentage, upbringing, practice, culture or self-identity. One of the most recent and largest studies, the National Jewish Population Survey, 2000-2001, commissioned by the United Jewish Communities and released in October 2002, counts the Jewish population at 5.2 million, a lower figure than several other surveys' findings of roughly 6 million. The study also shows the Jewish population in America to be aging and shrinking (by 5 percent in the past decade). However, other studies show slight growth, such as a survey by the Glenmary Research Center, also released in October, which put the number of self-described â€œethnicâ€? Jews at 6.1 million, an increase of 2.7 percent over the 1990 figure. Falling in between is the 2001 American Jewish Identity Survey, conducted by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, which counts the number of Jews at 5.5 million â€” nearly 4 percent of American households, including those that have at least one member who is Jewish by religion, parentage, upbringing or self-identification. This figure has increased from 3.2 million in 1990.
Though a growing number of Americans are Muslim, and several American Muslim groups have claimed as many as 7 million adherents, most polls show far smaller counts. According to a profile of the American Muslim population based on data from the CUNY American Religious Identification Survey, there were 1.1 million American Muslims in 2001, or 0.5 percent of the population, up from 0.3 percent in 1990. However, the researchers acknowledged that the current Muslim population may be as high as 2.8 million. 1 percent of the population, up from 0.3 percent in 1990. However, the researchers acknowledged that the current Muslim population may be as high as 2.8 million.
VARYING BY DEGREES
Religious Jews tend to be older, wealthier and more likely to be a Democrat than nonreligious Jews.
|CHARACTERISTIC||JEWS BY RELIGION||JEWS OF NO RELIGION||JEWS OF OTHER RELIGIONS|
|Number of adults||2,930,000||1,120,000||1,470,000|
|Percent of married with Jewish spouse||77%||16%||n/a|
|Percent college graduate||58%||57%||36%|
|Percent full-time employed||49%||56%||63%|
|Percent registered voters||85%||76%||85%|
|Percent who own a home||77%||67%||69%|
|Median annual household income||$72,000||$58,000||$54,000|
|Percent in Northeast||43%||26%||20%|
|Percent in South||26%||31%||36%|
|Percent in Midwest||10%||9%||13%|
|Percent in West||21%||34%||31%|
|Source: CUNY 2001 American Jewish Identity Survey|