This report, Jews in couples: Marriage, intermarriage, cohabitation and divorce in Britain, written by JPR Senior Research Fellow, Dr David Graham, is the first dedicated study of the topic that has ever been published about Jews in Britain. By assessing intermarriage in the wider context of partnerships more generally, and by drawing on high quality data from JPR’s own survey and from national census data, it is arguably one of the most robust studies of these topics produced anywhere.
Importantly, it estimates that the intermarriage rate in Britain currently stands at 26%, which is dramatically lower than the equivalent figure of 58% for the United States. Moreover, it shows that the rate has only climbed very slowly in Britain since the early 1980s, when it stood at 23%.
Nevertheless, it is unforgiving in its assessment of the effects of intermarriage on Jewish life. It finds that, whereas more or less all children of in-married Jewish couples are raised as Jews, this is the case for only a third of the children of intermarried couples. It also demonstrates that intermarried Jews exhibit far weaker levels of Jewish practice than in-married Jews on all measures investigated.
Beyond intermarriage, the report also explores the topics of divorce, cohabitation and same-sex couples. It finds that Jews are less likely to be divorced than the British population in general, but that the toll that divorce takes on women is notably greater than on men; that there has been a 17% rise over the course of the past decade in the number of Jews cohabiting, and that one in three Jews in their late 20s currently cohabits with their partner; and that just over 2,200 Jews live in same-sex couples, or 1.8% of all Jews in partnerships.
This article examines the severe age-sex imbalance and the increasing incidence of mixed marriage on the basis of the results of the 2002 Russian census. The changing marriage pattern and fertility among the Jews are discussed as reflected in the data of this census and a special processing of the birth certificates of 2002. Contemporary trends in family formation as well as the mass emigration led to changes in the “enlarged” Jewish population, and for their assessment new estimates of its size and structure are prepared.
Today most British Jews are privileged members of the middle classes and attend institutions of higher education until about the age of 22. They are less likely than earlier generations to marry, and if they do it is generally at a later age, often in their thirties. Alternative lifestyles, including cohabitation and same-sex relationships, are also much more common nowadays. For most contemporary British Jews the 'single years' are the late twenties or early thirties; by the age of 40 the majority are married. These new patterns require new responses.
population compiled by the Community Research Unit (CRU) at the Board of
Deputies of British Jews.
These data are collected on behalf of the whole community. It is the only survey to do
this on an annual basis and therefore the data are unique in being able to show
changes over time. From the point of view of community planners, the data represent
the most up-to-date portrayal of the Jewish community in Britain.
Although they are indicative of actual demographic trends, they only represent those
Jews who have chosen, or whose families have chosen, to associate themselves with
the Jewish community through a formal Jewish act, i.e. circumcision, marriage in a
synagogue, dissolution of marriage by a Beth Din, or Jewish burial or cremation.
Consequently, Jews who have not chosen to identify in these ways do not appear in
Further, it should be recognised that these data are collected regardless of institutional
denomination. They therefore include some individuals who would not be recognised
as Jewish by all sections of the community.