Whilst the Austrian Jewish population is small, its projected growth constitutes an important finding in European Jewish demography. The Jewish population of Europe has declined dramatically over the past century and a half, particularly as a result of mass migration and the Holocaust. Yet today, in several European countries, demographers are beginning to see signs of growth, driven particularly by high birth rates in the strictly Orthodox population. This study provides an important example of this phenomenon.
The report is a publication of JPR’s European Jewish Demography Unit, an initiative established in 2019 to produce new data to support Jewish community planning across Europe. Funded by the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, the Unit is working to produce country-specific reports annually, and this study about Austria is the first of these.
The report draws on three major sources of data: the 2001 Austrian Census, comprehensive records of the Austrian Jewish community and a survey carried out by a JPR/Ipsos consortium in 2018 for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
Key findings include:
Today the core Jewish population of Austria is estimated to be just above 10,000. The ‘core Jewish population’ consists of people who would explicitly identify themselves as Jews. This is the highest number of Jews observed in Austria since the 1960.
According to the Israeli Law of Return – which uses a broader definition to determine who is entitled to migrate to Israel and immediately apply for Israeli citizenship – the eligible Jewish population in Austria is currently about 20,000.
The core Jewish population constitutes 0.1% of the total population of Austria. 64% of all Austrians are Roman Catholics, 17% are unaffiliated in religious terms, and 8% are Muslims.
The Jewish population of Austria is growing and may reach 11,000-12,000 by the mid-2030s.
About 86% of all Austrian Jews reside in Vienna. Only 19% of all Austrians live in Vienna
The average number of children that a Jewish woman in Austria is expected to have in her lifetime is 2.5; strictly Orthodox Jewish women have 6–7 children per woman, on average, while non-strictly Orthodox Jewish women typically have about 2. The average among Austrian women in general is 1.5.
Migration has been a powerful factor of growth in the Austrian Jewish population. Jews born in Israel constitute about 20% of Jews in Austria today.
About 78% of Jewish households in Austria are affiliated with the Jewish community through membership of its representative organisation. Compared to other communities around the world, this is a very high level of affiliation.
About 30% of Jews in Austria identify as ‘Orthodox’ or ‘Traditional’ and 19% as ‘strictly Orthodox.’ 15% identify as ‘Reform/Progressive’ and 19% as ‘just Jewish.’ Austrian Jewry has one of the highest proportions of strictly Orthodox Jews of all European Jewish communities.
Due to their high fertility, the strictly Orthodox represent the main engine of population growth for the Jewish community as a whole. For the same reason, their share in the Jewish population is expected to increase significantly in the medium term.
About two thirds (70%) of partnered Austrian Jews have a Jewish partner.
About 70% of all Jewish children of compulsory school age in Austria attend Jewish schools. While 100% of strictly Orthodox Jews attend Jewish schools, among the non-strictly Orthodox uptake is still significant – about 52%.
Soviet Union (FSU) especial attention should be given to the Russian Federation,
where most of the Jews who have remained in the FSU are now concentrated.
For such an analysis the first results of the 2002 Russian census should
be studied in detail, as well as the Jewish intercensal demographic decrease by
area/region. Recent emigration dramatically changed the places of residence of
the Jewish population that originated from the FSU. The worldwide size and
distribution of this Jewry will also be discussed.
By way of illustration, the article presents some of the preliminary demographic and historical results of the study, which challenge conventional wisdom. Among other things, the study reveals the migrant and transitory nature of the Jewish population in the nineteenth century and documents its stabilisation and eventual decrease in the twentieth century, on the basis of birth, marriage and death rates; and its dispersal throughout the country, beyond the major concentrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Hopefully, this study will serve as a model for other genealogical research into defined groups, religious or otherwise, at the national level.
efforts on a compact and accessible geographical area with a large number of Jews. Efforts were directed towards finding some way of using official statistics from the 1971 Census, in particular of the borough of Hackney.
The study has shown that the Jewish population of Hackney is a variegated and diverse group of people. However, most of them felt that they had some links or group identity in common, whether culturally or religiously-based, and they were certainly seen as a cohesive ethnic grouping by other Hackney residents. Many of the Adath-Orthodox are happy to remain distant from both the mainstream of Anglo-Jewish life and many facets of twentieth century urban civilization, but the poor and aged, like many other inner city dwellers, have a feeling that they are a forgotten people living in physical insecurity in a high crime area. It is hoped that this study will bring to the attention of the Jewish community and all our fellow British citizens, that there still exists, in the 1970s, a Jewish proletariat in the inner city whose needs must not be forgotten. With such knowledge we in Britain may learn from the mistakes of American society when dealing with the complex problems of poor multi-ethnic neighborhoods.
twentieth taken. They constituted a landmark because, as an historical first, they
both included questions on religion, albeit voluntary questions. This voluntary status
was in itself unique, since the very essence of a census, compared to other surveys, is
that all questions are compulsory for everyone. The Scottish census was more
sophisticated than that of England and Wales in that it asked not only ‘'What religion,
religious denomination, or body do you belong to'1
but extended this to enquire into
religion of upbringing by asking ‘What religion, religious denomination, or body were
you brought up in?’.
This report, entitled “Britain’s Israeli Diaspora,” uses UK Census data to paint a portrait of the diverse Israeli population in Britain. Whilst it includes a fair number of stereotypical, born-and-bred, accented Israelis who are recent migrants to the UK, it also contains a considerable proportion of people who hold dual Israeli-British citizenship, have been living in Britain for many years and appear to be well-integrated into British society.
There is clear evidence to show that the Israeli population of the UK has grown over time, increasing by an estimated 350% between 1971 and 2011, and whilst it is still small, it now stands at its highest ever recorded level. Moreover, in the decade between 2001 and 2011, a greater number of Israelis moved to Britain than British Jews moved to Israel, at a ratio of three to two.
Many of the Israelis who have moved to the UK recently are in their mid-20s to mid-40s, and are highly educated, and whilst most are secular and relatively few choose to engage in Jewish communal religious life, approximately half of those with children choose to send their children to Jewish schools. At the same time, it is important to note that the Israeli population in the UK includes a sizeable proportion of strictly Orthodox Jews (about 16%), and a not insignificant proportion of non-Jews (9%).
Based on these data, it is difficult to determine the forces that may be driving Israeli migration. Whilst one might be tempted to argue that political or economic considerations are key, the most compelling evidence points to rather more prosaic factors – most notably, partnering with, or marrying, someone from Britain.
UK Census data continues to be by far and away the most comprehensive and valuable dataset that exists on the UK Jewish population as a whole. Whilst the census does not capture the entire Jewish population, census data allow us to examine the socio-demographic characteristics of the Jewish population in greater detail than any other source. In this report, we utilise these data to explore how the numerical balance between the 'mainstream' and the strictly Orthodox (haredi) Jewish population is shifting over time, and what the age profiles and total fertility rates of both groups indicate about the future.
In particular, we highlight how the haredi population is growing at an extraordinarily fast rate, due to its rare combination of high fertility and low mortality. By contrast, the non-haredi Jewish population is declining, not least due to its below replacement level fertility. We note how these measures, combined with an analysis of population momentum over time, help us to develop a probable picture of a future in which the haredi population will become an increasingly large part of the whole.
Whilst this is a demographic certainty, the report also notes that 30% of all haredi adults are aged 15-24. Proportions at this type of level in other populations worldwide have been associated by political scientists and demographers with a range of social problems, not least due to the existence of large numbers of young people who are unemployed or on low incomes. There is no suggestion here that haredi Jews are likely to succumb to the worst of these problems – on the contrary, the community has very high levels of social cohesion and a large number of mechanisms that help to counteract these – but the possibility of increased apathy, disillusionment or abandonment of a strictly Orthodox lifestyle should not be dismissed. Indeed, examined from a demographic perspective, these types of possibilities represent the clearest and most obvious risks facing the haredi community.
In presenting a probable picture of the future of the British Jewish population as a whole, the findings in this report should be utilised for the specific purposes JPR intended: to help Jewish community leaders, operating either within the haredi or the non-haredi sectors, to develop policy to respond to the various challenges that are highlighted.
The report, entitled Jewish families and Jewish households: Census insights into how we live, is the latest in a series of reports published by JPR that draw on data from the 2011 Census to understand key aspects of contemporary Jewish life in Britain. It is the most comprehensive report on these data published so far, and reveals a number of important insights, hitherto unknown.
Amongst these, it demonstrates that a third of all Jewish households have people living within them who are either not Jewish, or whose Jewish status is unclear. On the face of it, this represents little change over the decade since 2001, but close examination of the data indicate that there has been an increase in the number of Jews living with people who say they have no religion, alongside a decrease in the number of Jews living with people who have a different religion.
The report also investigates differences in household make-up between Jews and other religious and ethnic minorities, and demonstrates that Jews are far less likely than average to cohabit or to live in single parent families – a finding which indicates that the traditional Jewish family is holding up relatively well in the face of general changes in family formation habits in Britain. On the other hand, a higher proportion of Jewish households have people aged 65 or over living alone in them than British households in general, or for that matter, the households of almost every other minority group in the UK.
In addition, household data from the census provide valuable insights into the lives of students and young adults, revealing that there are more Jewish students based in Gateshead than any other city in the UK. Nottingham and Birmingham follow quite closely behind, and both Oxford and Cambridge feature among the top seven locations for Jewish students. One in five young adults aged 25-29 still live with their parents, and the proportion in that age group living alone declined by about a third between 2001 and 2011, probably due to issues around affordability.
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.
This paper is based mainly on the results of the post-war Soviet censuses concerning respondents' native language and second language. The statistical data on Yiddish were studied for the former union republics of the USSR and their capitals. For Belorussia, Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the data were also studied for their different regions. In the 1994 Russian microcensus, a question on the primary language of conversation at home was asked for the first time, and the respective data concerning Yiddish in the city of Moscow and Birobidzhan ("Jewish") oblast were analyzed.
This paper was presented at the conference "Yiddish in the Contemporary World" at Oxford, 19-21 April 1998, and revised in May 2012.
Our first report, published in December 2012, looked at the UK Jewish population at Local Authority (LA) level, and noted that whilst the size of the Jewish population of England and Wales has remained largely static since 2001, there are significant changes taking place at the local level. Our second report, published in February 2013, also focused on geography, and examined the changes that have taken place at the neighbourhood level. Our third report, published in July 2013, utilised age and sex data to outline the strikingly different demographic profiles of two distinct groups within the community - the strictly Orthodox, and everybody else.
The first report, published in December 2012, looked at the UK Jewish population at Local Authority (LA) level, and noted that whilst the size of the Jewish population of England and Wales has remained largely static since 2001, there are significant changes taking place at the local level.
This second report in the series investigates data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in January 2013, which shows population size of all major religious groups down to ward level.
Over 120 pages long, the report covers a wide range of subjects, including the nature of Jewish partnerships, intermarriage, living standards, social inequality, ethnicity, educational standards and many other demographic issues. ‘Our understanding of the British Jewish population has been revolutionized’, concluded the authors of JPR's comprehensive analysis of the data on Jews derived from answers to the first ever voluntary question on religion in the 2001 Census. ‘The results have been truly fascinating and mould-breaking.’ A debate has now been started which, JPR hopes, will provoke an extensive and much-needed examination into the nature of the Jewish community in Britain and its future needs.
As well as listing and referencing the major studies conducted on different European Jewish communities, it calls for a more unified approach to Jewish social research in Europe, and the collation of key sources into a centralised databank.
Encouraging minority communities to participate in the census as citizens and making it possible for them voluntarily to identify themselves in their own terms can be an important means of fostering a multicultural society. This approach can have long-term social, political and economic benefits for British society.