Those findings, contained in the first authoritative study of the city’s Jewish population in nearly a decade, challenges the entrenched image of Jews as liberal, affluent and well educated. Over the last decade wealthy, Ivy League graduates like those on the Upper West Side have increasingly lost population share relative to Orthodox groups, like the Hasidic population in Brooklyn, where college degrees are rare and poverty rates have reached 43 percent.
Members of these Orthodox groups also have been known to be far more likely to adopt more conservative positions on matters such as abortion, same-sex marriage and the Israeli approach to the Palestinians.
At the same time, among non-Orthodox Jews there has been a weakening in observance of quintessential Jewish practices. Participation in Passover seders has declined — 14 percent of households never attend one, almost twice as many as a decade ago. Reform and Conservative movements each lost about 40,000 members between 2002 and 2011 and nearly a third of respondents who identified themselves as Jews said they did not ally themselves with a denomination or claimed no religion.
That shift appears quite likely to grow even more pronounced. Now, 40 percent of Jews in the city identify themselves as Orthodox, an increase from 33 percent in 2002; 74 percent of all Jewish children in the city are Orthodox.
The New York area’s Jewish population is the largest in the world outside of Israel and composes about one-third of the American Jewish population, which has been estimated at around six million (the census does not ask about religion).
Although the researchers accepted as Jewish anyone who identified themselves that way, they also included people who identified themselves as “partially Jewish” — most of whom were adult children of intermarriages. They discounted respondents who, for example, said they were Jews for Jesus.
UJA-Federation, a 90-year-old philanthropic organization, conducts the study roughly once a decade as a way of focusing its assistance in the eight counties it serves. The 2002 study found that the Jewish population of the city dipped below one million for the first time in a century, which was less than half the two million peak of the 1950s. Jews who moved out of the city seemed to stay in the region’s suburbs.
But the latest study, which will be released on Tuesday, showed that the city’s Jewish population was reversing course and expanding. With the 316,000 on Long Island and 136,000 in Westchester, the eight counties together were home to 1.54 million Jews, a 10 percent increase since 2002. One factor contributing to the increase, the study found, is that Jews, like other Americans, are living longer. The number of Jews ages 75 and older rose to 198,000 from 153,000.
By JOSEPH BERGER - NY TIMES