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On the basis of the consensus figure of 5.5 million, the Jewish population of the United States has, at best, remained static for the past 50 years, despite the influx during that same period of at least a half-million Jewish immigrants. Entitled ewish Distinctiveness in America: A Statistical Portrait, it marshals considerable evidence for the relatively advanced age of the American Jewish population.
If there is debate over absolute numbers, there is far wider agreement on the patterns of behavior within the Jewish population ― behavior confirmed by dozens of community studies and separate opinion polls. First, in terms of median age, Jews are seven years older than other Americans. Among religious groups, only liberal Protestants exceed Jews in this regard; among ethnic groups, only Americans of British ancestry do.
This is hardly surprising: the problem of Jewish population decline is complex, and huge difficulties lie in ambush for any plan aimed at reversing it.
Smith's study also makes plain why the Jewish age structure has become so skewed.The fertility gap is especially enormous among Jewish women under the age of thirty-five; even though the gap narrows considerably over the course of the next ten years, at no point do Jewish women attain the fertility levels of their non-Jewish peers or bear children in numbers sufficient to offset population losses from natural causes.It is true that low fertility rates among Jewish women are not a new phenomenon.Add to all this the losses sustained through the high rate of intermarriage.Once upon a time, it was thought by at least some sociologists that intermarriage could prove to be a demographic boon.