London: Census undercounts Jews

Jewish council claims new study underreports number of London Jews.

london 88 (photo credit: )
london 88
(photo credit: )
A new report, published by the Greater London Authority and commissioned by the London's mayor, shows that there were 149,789 Londoners whose stated religion was Jewish in the 2001 census, making up more than 2 percent of the population of London. Adrian Cohen, chairman of the London Jewish Forum, said: "While we welcome the publication of the report, one shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the data significantly underrepresents the number of Jews living in London, or who consider themselves Londoners." London Mayor Ken Livingstone responded that while the report may have underreported the number of Jews in the city as some secular Jews may identify as Jewish by descent or culture rather than religion, the document was an important step towards increasing awareness of the diversity within the Jewish community." The census includes those that would have ticked "Jewish" on the census forms in response to the question: "What is your religion?" Published this week, the report was produced by the Data Management and Analysis Group at the authority and shows that Jewish Londoners account for 58% of all Jews in England and Wales. Livingstone said: "Many Jewish people first made their homes in this country in London and many of the most significant moments in British Jewish history have occurred in our city. Jewish Londoners have made a powerful contribution to the city in fields as varied as science, culture, business and the arts and the Jewish contribution to London has been enormous." Published in the year that British Jews have been commemorating the 350th anniversary of the readmission of Jews to England under Oliver Cromwell, it shows a well-established community living mostly in outer boroughs, with the largest concentration in Barnet, northwest London. The mayor said: "This report helps to provide a demographic picture of the Jewish community in 21st-century London. I hope that the information presented in this report will be of use to policy makers at all levels of government and to the Jewish communities, in ensuring that the specific needs and concerns of Jewish Londoners are understood and responded to.