Massive Palm Beach County Jewish Federation Study Shows Unprecedented Growth, Diversity and Economic Insecurity in Local Jewish Community
Boca Raton, FL – Recognizing the dramatic transformations taking place in local and wider Jewish communities and how these demographic and demographic changes will impact programs and services for years to come, Palm Beach County Jewish Federation recently completed a large study of the Jewish community led by Brandeis University, one of the country’s leading research entities, to find out what the community looks like today and where it is heading. The last survey of the Federation’s service area, which extends south to Boynton Beach and north to Martin County, was completed in 2005.
The main findings of the 2018 Jewish Community Study indicate:
- The Jewish population has grown tremendously with almost 167,000 people living in 78,000 Jewish households (households that include at least one Jewish adult), a dramatic increase of 21% from 2005.
- The Jewish community in Palm Beaches is larger than the Jewish communities in major metropolitan areas, including Miami, northern New Jersey, and Detroit.
- About 27 percent of the Jewish community lives in growing northern areas, including Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter; 46 percent live in the Boynton Beach and Lake Worth corridor; 13 percent reside in central Palm Beach County, including Palm Beach Island and West Palm Beach; 7% in the Wellington / Royal Palm Beach area; and 7 percent in Martin County.
- The Boynton Beach / Lake Worth area alone, with approximately 76,700 people living in Jewish households, has a larger Jewish population than most major American cities, including Dallas, Detroit, and Seattle.
- Highlighting a greater diversity of the population, the median age of the Jewish population of the Palm Beaches has declined in a decade, from 70 to 60 years.
- The fastest growing segment of the local Jewish population is young families.
– The study estimates that there are 22,200 children living in Jewish households, an 88% increase from the previous study.
– More than half of children in Jewish homes are brought up by interfaith parents, which is remarkable as Jewish organizations and synagogues seek innovative approaches to strengthen Jewish identity and involve families in Jewish life.
- While four in five adults see Judaism as part of their daily lives, people are redefining how they want to connect with their Jewish identity and participate in Jewish life, with local Jewish adults expressing reduced interest in affiliation institutional.
- The local community continues to demonstrate a strong connection to the State of Israel, with 88% of local Jewish adults reporting feeling connected to Israel and 60% having visited the Jewish state (the national rate is 43%).
Although there is abundance in the Palm Beaches, the community study found substantial levels of economic insecurity within the Jewish community, with part of the population needing support with basic necessities and access to public benefits, such as Medicaid. Relevant survey results indicate:
- Almost 16,000 Jewish households (20% of the total) describe themselves as getting along simply, almost poor or poor.
- 20,000 Jewish households (23% of the total) have experienced economic hardship in the past year.
- About 25,000 Jewish households (almost a third of the total) include someone with a chronic health problem, disability or special needs.
- There are particular vulnerabilities in the elderly Jewish population of Palm Beaches, one of the largest in North America. 14% of local Jewish seniors describe themselves as poor or just get along, and 10% of seniors rely on public benefits such as Medicaid. These data have special implications for the approximately 12,000 Holocaust survivors who live in our region.
“We are seeing an incredible growth in the number of people living in Jewish homes and seeking to connect with Jewish life in new ways,” said Jim Baldinger, president of the Jewish Community Study. “The results of this study provide us with important data and clarity on where our community is today and where we are heading; now the real work begins.
“The growth and change we are experiencing in Jewish Palm Beach is unprecedented – it is now one of the largest, fastest growing and fastest growing Jewish communities in North America. North, ”said Michael Hoffman, president and CEO of the Palm Beach Jewish Federation. County. “This study lays the foundation for how our community will make decisions, determine strategic priorities and allocate resources over the next decade. It will take the collective energy and creativity of the entire community to ensure that Jewish Palm Beach continues to grow as one of the most vibrant and impactful Jewish communities in the world. “
The Federation is now working with Jewish and secular organizations, philanthropists, community partners, programmatic innovators and policy makers to review the study results and assess how to most effectively meet the rapidly changing needs of the living Jewish population. in the great beaches of Palm Beach.