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A report just published by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the representative body of the UK Jewish community, has shown a 4-percent annual growth of the haredi community in the UK. Entitled "Population Trends among Britain's Strictly Orthodox Jews," the report was produced by demographers David Graham and Daniel Vulkan.
"[The report] shows that nationally, the strictly orthodox population has been growing at a rate of about 4 percent per year for the last two decades," Graham said. "This is an exceptional statistic given the often heard assertion that British Jewry, like many Diaspora communities, is in a permanent state of decline."
Graham said that a higher growth can be expected in the future: "This is a predominantly young group. Overall, around 10% of Britain's Jewish population is haredi, but among those who are under 18 years old, one-third are haredi. It is clear that this young age structure has actually caused the high growth rate to accelerate. This means that we might expect a growth rate of even higher than 4% in the future."
The report, released on Friday, also shows evidence of a considerable amount of migration, especially in relation to marriage. In at least two-thirds of recent engagement announcements, one partner was from outside the UK.
The authors estimate the size of Britain's haredi population to be between 22,800 and 36,400 people with a mid-point of 29,600 people. This is out of about 300,000 Jews in Britain.
During the year 2007, up to 1,400 of all Jewish births were to haredi families.
"For several years now, we have seen anecdotal evidence of unusually strong population growth among strictly Orthodox Jews in Britain," said Graham. "But it is only now, with the gathering together of multiple data sources into this one report, that demographers can be confident about what is actually occurring. These results are truly fascinating and unprecedented."
"This report contains a wealth of indispensable information that deserves to be analyzed and reviewed as we develop long-term strategies for UK Jewry in the months ahead," Board vice president and community issues chairman Paul Edlin said.
Board chief executive Jon Benjamin said: "Our researchers have done a remarkable job in analyzing the data and producing such interesting results. Our community is flourishing in so many respects, with many children benefiting from Jewish schools, programs for adults, and social and cultural events for people of all levels of interest. These figures also show that Jewish life in this country is growing and developing."
Last month, a report produced by Manchester University's Center for Jewish Studies suggested that Britain's Jewish community was enjoying a demographic revival for the first time in 50 years because of massive growth in its haredi population.
The Manchester University report differed in population numbers of the haredi community, saying that the ultra-Orthodox community totaled 46,500, as opposed to the Board report which put it at around 29,000.
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