Posted by Pini Herman
Recently, the LA Times described the Occupy Movement in LA as secular and missing the religious component of other US social movements. I did greet Rabbi Jonathan Klein, whom I spotted one evening by his kippah at a distance at Occupy LA, but there were few other kippot there. Informal “Jew spotting” made me feel that while Jews were a minority, we were still respectably represented. It’s what I would expect as a growing number of Jews don’t identify Jewish by religion and would not be likely to be wearing a yarmulke.
As a demographer of Jews, when I look at surveys that ask the respondent’s religion, I first look at the Jewish column and then my eyes goes to the “None” or “No Religion” column. The US Jewish population is comprised of over a third of “Jews, No Religion,” a strange term that may describe a lot of our friends and families.
Years of experience surveying Jews have taught me that the “no religion” column has a lot of Jews. The characteristics of self-identified Jews and Nones often closely associate in terms of education, income, political attitudes. Ariella Keysar and Barry Kosmin have researched this phenomenon extensively.
Jewish population studies show that the population of Jewish “Nones” has 4 sources of origin:
A. Born Nones - Children with two Jewish parents (i.e. secular or Cultural Jews) raised
in no religion.
B. Born Nones - Children of intermarriage brought up in a compromise “religiously
C. Persons who switch out of Judaism.
D. Children of intermarriage raised in Christianity who switch to No Religion (or
atheism, agnosticism, humanism etc.)
The “No Religion” fraction of the Jewish population has risen from around 20% in 1990 to
around 37% in 2008.
This rise of the Jewish “Nones” is in the context of a secularization of the total US. During the period between 1990 and 2008 the U.S. adult population of “Nones” grew from 8% to 15% increasing from 14 to 34 million persons for a gain of 138% while the Jewish “Nones” adult population rose by 58%.
These figures suggests that the Jewish population is further ahead in the process of secularization than Americans in general, but the trend may be tapering off for Jews. The US adult Jewish-No religion population rose by an average of 28,000 a year in 1990s and 24,000 year in 2000s. Secularization of the population is especially strong in the “unchurched” Western U.S.
Whether this tapering off of the Jewish “Nones” is continuing is something that we won’t know as no National Jewish Population Survey has been schedule in the foreseeable future.
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October 24, 2011 | 12:45 pm
Posted by Pini Herman
It just got harder. Time Magazine’s (10/31/2011 edition) on the Occupy movement definition of Who Are the 1%?:
1% = Average yearly income: $1,530,773
99% = Average yearly income: $54,792
That’s 3 times $506,553. Tax Policy Center’s, the annual income threshold for entering the top 1 percent of U.S. household income that I accepted last week.
This is a classic example why averages are not used to calculate income thresholds. Extremes of incomes influence the calculation of averages. The median income, 50 percent of houshold are below and 50 percent of households are above the point of income one is interested in is a much better indicator.
Time Magazine apparently used the $506,553 Tax Policy Center cutoff point and then averaged the incomes of the 1,175,000 U.S. households who together own approximately 40 percent of the wealth of the country. This created the astronomical $1,530,773 yearly income that would put only 456 US CEOs earing more last year and put thousands including Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer ($1.35 million) and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet ($.45 million) in the lower earning 99 percent. As much as I’d like to see the prominent and Jewish CEO Steve Ballmer a member of the 99%, I don’t think so.
October 17, 2011 | 10:52 am
Posted by Pini Herman
According to the Tax Policy Center, the annual income threshold for entering the top 1 percent of U.S. household income is $506,553.
So how many Jews earn more than a half million dollars a year? Probably less than a third of the highest income income category or less than 3 percent. So most Jews can look around and assure themselves that they are part of the 97 percent if not the 99 percent.
By my estimate in the U.S. Jews constitute about 6 percent of the 1,175,000 U.S. households who together own approximately 40 percent of the wealth of the country, but Jews are disproportionately represented among the wealthy who have come out for greater taxation of their own wealth.
Jews seem to be well represented at OccupyLA. Jewish median household income for Los Angeles in 1996 was $52,050. (Median household income is the figure that half of incomes are above and half are below.) In 1978, the median income (adjusted to 1996 dollars) was $47,685, pointing to an improvement. If no change in Jewish household incomes occurred in the past 14 years, 1996’s Jewish median income updated to 2011 is $75,200 compared to $57,400 for all LA households.
In Los Angeles of 1996 there were a third more Jewish households, 9.4 percent, in lowest income categories of below $14,400 (in 2011 dollars) than the 6.8 percent households earning at or above $289,000 (in 2011 dollars). The largest group, 33 percent, were earning between $72,000 and $144,400 (in 2011 dollars).
October 10, 2011 | 1:31 pm
Posted by Pini Herman
Resolved to get married this new Jewish Year? There’s still plenty of time to benefit from the healthful effects of marriage.
Some women might even want to wait until Paul McCartney Goes for a 3rd Jewish Wife.
I used to feel guilty about pursuing the protective effect of marriage on JDate. For years the common wisdom in demography had been (when you accounted for all other factors) that married women didn’t make any gains in years of life, but married men did.
So, what did I as a man have to offer the woman of my dreams? She might live just as long whether she married or not.
Michael Rendall and others at RAND, in Santa Monica, have shown that women too, have significant gains in life expectacy, though not as great as men. An unmarried man’s odds of dying in the next year are 2.4 times higher than the odds of an married man at age 25, falling to 1.7 times at age 50, and 1.2 times at age 75. For unmarried women versus married women, the greater odds of dying if unmarried are 1.7 at age 25, 1.4 at age 50 and 1.1 at age 75.
“Marriage protection” ceases at age 84 for women and age 89 for men.
Perhaps marriage doesn’t really protect its incumbents but that healthier men and women select themselves and each other into marriage. Maybe we just pick the healthier potential partners.
So post those healthy looking pictures on your dating website profile. Great Free Love ideas are also available from Annie Korzen, the Bargain Junkie.
October 3, 2011 | 12:39 pm
Posted by Pini Herman
Looking at our modest marketing campaign at the Movable Minyan, a lay-lead egalitarian non-denominational congregation, less Jews outside our established community are showing interest and coming to Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services at this year.
71 percent of Los Angeles Jews attended Jewish religious services at least once a year, fifteen years ago in 1996 when the last LA Jewish Population Survey was fielded. At that time, one-third (34 percent), were actually dues paying members of a synagogue. When people were asked what might be their reason for joining or not joining a synagogue, three factors stood out: the quality of the rabbi, the need to send children to religious school, and the friendliness of the congregation.
The 23 year-old Movable Minyan doesn’t have a rabbi, only six past and present members who have become Conservative and Reform rabbis after participating in the Do-It-Yourself Judaism that characterizes the minyan. We have children’s services but not religious school and we like to think we’re friendly. So the Movable Minyan isn’t typical, but I’m wondering whether other High Holiday services were also less attended?
The presence of the High Holidays content websites by year on the Internet in English has grown from around 700,000 in 2000 to around 2 million in 2011. This trend may be indicative of High Holiday outreach by religious institutions or changing High Holiday consumption by Jews. Do High Holiday services streamed on the Internet influence actual High Holiday attendance at synagogues?
The rabbi’s High Holiday sermon is streamed. Less people are having school-age children and temple memberships may be the expense to cut. Attending services in one’s shorts or pajamas may be preferable to the friendliness of the mostly once-a-year synagogue crowd. Has physical attendance and the in-gathering of the Jewish community at High Holiday synagogue services declined?