The Pew Religion and Public Life Project released its most recent survey yesterday, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans.” It turns out that Jews, who make up a little less than two percent of the population, mirror larger trends in American religious life. For example:
- The Rise of the Nones: More and more American Jews say they have no religion–that is, they view their identity as ethnic or cultural. According to Pew, 22% percent of American Jews now qualify as “Nones.” This percentage is close to the percentage of Nones in the general population (20%). As with the general population, religious disaffiliation is more pronounced among Millennials (ages 18-29). Here the numbers are exactly the same: 32% of Millennial Jews say they have no religion, the same percentage as among Millennials generally.
- Increased Intermarriage: In their 2010 study, American Grace, sociologists Robert Putnam and David Campbell estimate that something like half the marriages in America today are religiously mixed. For Jews, the rate of interfaith marriage is similarly very high. Indeed, according to Pew, the majority of Jews who marry today choose non-Jewish spouses.
- Religious Politics: As many observers have noted, the key political divide in America today is not between religions–Catholics vs. Protestants–but between people who are religious, in any faith tradition, and people who are not. People who are religiously active tend to vote Republican, and people who are not religiously active tend to vote Democrat. A similar pattern holds true for American Jews. As a whole, Jews favor the Democratic Party by more than three to one. For Orthodox Jews, however, the trend is reversed: 57% of Orthodox Jews are Republican or lean Republican, while only 36% of Orthodox Jews are Democrat or lean Democrat.
You can read Pew’s summary of the survey here.