When a couple where both partners are Jewish send their kids off to college, some worry that the children will ultimately marry someone not Jewish. Often through folk wisdom or folk demography they mistakenly feel that likely as not their child their child has a 50% or greater chance of initially marrying someone not Jewish. According to Bruce Phillips, that’s not accurate.
The most recent NJPS cohort studied in 2000 of Jews marrying for the first time and having two Jewish parents, only a third married non-Jews. But, then how is it that if lets say out of 21 first time Jewish newlyweds who invited you to their wedding, 50 percent of the weddings are to a non-Jew?
Creating 7 weddings of the ”Jew marrying a Jew” type requires 14 Jews. Creating 7 weddings of the “Jew marrying a non-Jew” requires only 7 Jews and 7 non-Jews.
So, its likely that the intermarriage preoccupied in-married Jewish parent has more than an even chance that their child will bring home a nice Jewish boy or girl.
The following illustrates how it takes 21 Jews and 7 non-Jews to create 7 in-marriages and 7 out-marriages:
Type of Marriage