Survey: Israeli New Yorkers poorer than US Jews

Some 127,000 Israelis live in 41,000 households in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.

June 15, 2012 02:26
2 minute read.
Manhattan, New York [stock photo]

Manhattan, New York 370. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)


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WASHINGTON – Some 127,000 Israelis live in 41,000 households in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County. On average, they are poorer, less educated and more Orthodox than native Jews in the area, according to the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011 by the UJA Federation of New York.

The study defines an Israel household as one where either the respondent or spouse was born in Israel, or one in which the respondent has lived in Israel but was not born in the US, which excludes American Jews who had spent several months or more Israel and then returned to the US.

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Israeli-headed households account for 6 percent of Jewish households in greater New York.

Some 121,000 of the 127,000 people in these households are Jews, 8% of greater New York’s Jews.

Israeli New Yorkers are significantly less educated than their Jewish peers: 39% of Israeli New Yorkers have only a high school education or less, compared with 23% of New York Jews; 11% of Israeli New Yorkers have some college, compared with 23% of New York Jews; and 50% of Israeli New Yorkers have at least a BA, compared with 55% of New York Jews.

Israeli New Yorkers are also poorer than their Jewish peers, the report said. Although their employment patterns and income distributions resemble those of non-Israelis, they do have a higher proportion of poor households than other New Yorkarea Jews (24% versus 18%). Poor and near-poor Israeli New York households account for 39% of the total, compared with 28% poor and near-poor Jewish New York households.

Israeli-Americans’ reputation as being distant from Jewish life is undeserved, the report said. Israeli New Yorkers are twice as likely to be Orthodox than native Jews (38% versus 18%), and half are as likely to be Reform (12% versus 24%), partly reflecting the small appeal of Reform Judaism to Israelis.

Some 9% of Israeli New Yorkers have intermarried, compared with 23% of non-Israelis; 65% of Israeli New Yorkers belong to a synagogue, compared with 43% of New York Jews; 72% of Israeli New Yorker children are enrolled in day care, compared with 45% of children of New York Jews.

Israeli New Yorkers are more insular than New York Jews, the report said. Some 74% of Israeli New Yorkers say they have mostly Jewish friends, compared with 51% of New York Jews.

Some 1.54 million Jews live in 694,000 households in the eight counties of New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, of whom 1.09 million live in New York City itself. The figure rises to 1.71 million people when families with a non-Jewish spouse are included.

Israeli New Yorkers are more concentrated in Brooklyn than New York Jews (45% versus 28%), especially in Borough Park and Flatbush.

The Greater New York Jewish population is the highest in the US and the second highest in the world, after Israel. The New York Jewish population rose in the 2000s, after falling in 1990s.

An additional 20,000 to 30,000 Israelis live in the New Jersey suburbs of New York, which brings the number of Israelis living in metropolitan New York as a whole to about 150,000.

Some 250,000 Israeli-Americans live in metropolitan Los Angeles, according to Congressman Howard Berman, who represents a district in the area.

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