JEWS AND MUSLIMS

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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 — 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 “ethnic� 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 — 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 male 49% 52% 45%
Median age 51 44 42
Percent married 59% 45% 59%
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 Democrat 55% 41% 28%
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
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