Posted by Pini Herman
Chicago has grown to 291,800 Jews, an increase of 8% since the last survey in 2000. Part of this growth may be attributed to children of intermarrieds who identify as Jewish.
Some of the other findings of the 2010 Metropolitan Chicago Jewish Community Study:
Intermarriage rates are moderate: using previous study definitions, 37% of married couples are currently intermarried, compared to a similarly computed 2000 30% intermarriage rate;
While intermarriage has increased since 2000, the proportion of children living with intermarried parents being raised unambiguously Jewish (“Jewish-only”) increased from 38% in 2000 to 49% in 2010.
Intermarried parents who are raising their children unambiguously Jewish are much more connected to the Jewish community than other intermarried families with children.
The Second City has released the findings of the which interviewed a sample of two thousand households and New York is in the midst of their 2011 Jewish Community Study currently surveying about six thousand Jewish households. Both these cities have conducted regular Jewish population studies every ten years since the early 1980s.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles hasn’t had Jewish population survey in about fourteen years and is not slated to. We can only conjecture as to what is happening in Los Angeles.
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July 21, 2011 | 6:04 pm
Posted by Bruce Phillips
If you call the LA Federation with a question about the demographics of Los Angeles Jewry, there’s a very good chance you will be referred to me.
This is both flattering and awkward since my colleague, Pini Herman, conducted the last study 14 years ago, and I have to explain that I can only offer recent history. I still use that study myself as part of my academic research on Jews in cities. One of my recent publications on the 1997 study was published by Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life at USC, and I draw on some of my findings in this and in future posts.
The most typical question I get have to do with the size and demographic profile of the Jewish population in particular communities, along with inquires regarding where Jews are moving. It’s hard to be very helpful with older data, but I have developed some questions of my own for the next study (may it come quickly and in our time), three of which I share here.
Question 1: Is the Los Angeles Jewish population growing, shrinking or remaining stable?
The 1997 report shows only modest Jewish population growth from 503,000 to 519,000. The latter figure is an underestimate for comparison purposes because the 1979 study included the San Gabriel Valley and the 1997 study did not count children raised in no religion by intermarried parents as Jews. If you add in those two groups the 1997 estimate would be 528,000, or 5 percent growth over 18 years. That’s basically a stable Jewish population, and that stability is impressive given that the white, non-Hispanic population of LA County declined over the same period from 53.3% in 1980 to 32.1% in 2000.
Two recent Jewish population studies of San Diego (2003) and San Francisco (2004) reported growth rates of 27% and 36% during the ten years prior to the study. The ten-year growth rate for Los Angeles in 1997 was only 4% by comparison. This suggests that new Jewish migrants to California are moving to metropolitan areas other than Los Angeles.
Question #2: What’s with the West Valley?
The West Valley (Calabasas west to the end of the Conejo Valley) is generally thought of as the place for young families. This was definitely true in 1979 when more than half the Jewish households there had children. By 1997, however, only a third of the West Valley households had children. That was still a higher percentage than any other area, but nonetheless suggests that this area was aging along with the rest of Jewish Los Angeles. Indeed, only 3% of the households there were empty nesters in 1979 compared with 21% in 1997. Has it become an empty nester community in the years since then?
Question #3: What’s happening in the Santa Clarita and Simi Valleys?
In 1979 most of the Jews in the Santa Clarita and Simi Valleys were either visiting Magic Mountain or at Brandeis-Bardin. Even in 1997 only 4% of the Jewish households in LA County were to be found in these two valleys, in contrast with fully a quarter of all non-Hispanic whites in Los Angeles County. In fact, the Simi, Santa Clarita, and San Gabriel Valleys were the only areas where Jews were under-represented in LA County. Moreover, the intermarriage rate there was 56%, more than double the rate for the rest of Jewish Los Angeles. In other words, these two valleys were attractive primarily to non-Jewish whites and intermarried Jews. But we know that both Simi Valley and Valencia have been intensively developed since then. Has the northwest corner of Los Angeles County become more Jewish since 1997, or has it remained Jewishly marginal?
July 19, 2011 | 12:03 am
Posted by Pini Herman
The Federation reported to the JTA that TNBJI cost $40K and I claimed that it cost $2 million. We’re really not that far apart.
The Federation says that apart from staffing costs…....it spent only $40K.
I said that when you calculate staffing and labor costs and the cost of submitting a proposal…...it comes to $2 million.
The major divergence is in accounting. I count the staffing, labor and opportunity costs of all who were engaged with the TNBJI contest and the Federation does not.
Several journalists asked me how I came up with my estimate of $2 million
Jewish Communal Cost=306 Ideas submitted X 1.5 persons per idea X 60 hours to develop proposal X $60 @hr grant development = $1,652,400.00
Federation Costs=306 Ideas submitted X 16 hrs staff time X $80 @hr= $391,680
[Estimated Community Costs] $1,652,400 + $391,680 [Estimated Federation Cost] = $2,044,080 [Estimated Total]
The contest ran for 143 days. The federation reports that it “engaged 100,000 people in conversation to say what they thought.” The federation stated budget put the cost of each person engaged at 40 cents. If Federation staff cost (of a modest $80 per hour) are considered cost per contest engaged person is $4. If estimated community costs are included, the cost per engaged person is $20.
An argument may be made that Federation staff gets paid anyhow, no matter what they do, and the staff costs can’t be accounted, attributed or allocated to a specific project such as TNBJI. Such lack of accountability is afforded to few organizations.
Conversely, if the work of contest invitees is valued by the Federation at $0, and it assumes that there is no cost to others, only free crowd-sourced labor. No consideration is given to hundreds of talented Jewish persons lost opportunities to seek other funding, for housework, childcare, elder-care and volunteer work and other ways to occupying submitters time such as paid labor or leisure.
The outcome value claimed by the federation, is in what it describes as “engagement” and the presentation of ideas. TNBJI contest costs were described by the federation as: “in addition to the $100,000 prize and staff time, the contest cost the organization about $40,000, including online advertising, videos and printed materials.”
Aside from staff time and the $100,000 prize, the federation represents the cost of each engaged person at forty cents. A strong case can be made that a truer cost of an “engaged person” in the context of this contest was $20. That’s what I like to thing my time is worth.
Whether it was forty cents or fifty times as much, it ultimately comes out of the Jewish community’s limited resources that might be allocated in a wiser manner.
July 13, 2011 | 4:52 pm
Posted by Pini Herman
$100,000 in direct and in-kind resources to the TNBJI winner has been announced. Launchbox. Its a perhaps laudable program of delivering a box of Orthodox oriented content to to the lesser-practicing Jew to launch them rightward in the continuum of Jewish identity and practice.
$100,000 to Chabad might have been a bit more efficient. $100,000 buys much more when channeled through a large existing organization than when its channeled through a start-up organization. A lot gets eaten up in start-up costs.
A competition was created. The competitors had to dig into their own pockets to compete. Even the in the book of Esther, the king bore the costs of primping the beauty contestants.
This is the equivalent of displaying a bag of money in the street and making the needy fill out forms as they swarm to reach it. The money bag target is so amorphous and vague, that forgotten is that its the Federation’s mission to research and plan so that money can be distributed in a planful manner.
The cash honeypot was modest, $100,000 for the Federation, an organization with a $40,000,000 yearly budget, Federation staff easily burned through that amount of money in a few months of their TNBJI overhead.
The applicants spent at least $1.7 million in kind and cash pursuing the $100,000 and the Jewish Federation of Greater LA will have conservatively expended $0.3 million to give away the $100,000 to the winner, Launchbox.
The use of information gathered from unsuccessful applicants for a study is way to use administrative data. I call it “Craigslist Sampling.” The cost of information provision is borne by hopeful applicants. The crowd of applicants provided this data about what they thought was important enough to spend their meager resources on. Unfortunately the other data in the Federation’s possession regarding community votes and judges votes is, so far, secret.
The 306 applicants were classified into an average two or more categories by the Federation on its TNBJI website. Community and Jewish Identity came out on top as the most popular themes of The Next Big Jewish Idea applicants. Interfaith, Health & Fitness, College, and Special Needs were the least popular. Israel was ranked in the middle.
Rather than the enticing Craigslist-like Internet come on, “Work From Home,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles used the siren call of “Work From An Office in the Jewish Federation building.” Individuals grasping for legitimacy of a real office and a real budget in these recessionary times and Jewish agencies grasping at a way to make up for cuts in Federation funding stuffed a lot of electronic envelopes.
If the Federation doesn’t have any more information about communal needs than its TNBJI applicants, then everyone is in the dark. TV game show logic sets in. TNBJI is described by the media as an open submissions contest with a $100,000 prize. The judging process is tantalizing long, but on TV, more transparent.
The light that legitimate Jewish communal needs research would provide is missing. Jewish communal Leadership does not mean keeping the lights off in a dark room and having the only box of matches around.
Most responsible Jewish communities have known, since the 1920s, having valid actionable information is like paying the light bill.