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By the year 2006, according to a policy institute in Israel, the American Jewish community, hitherto the world's largest, will for the first time fall behind the Jewish community of Israel in size. Last spring saw a series of private meetings, including one called by the president of the state of Israel, to discuss the demographic situation and what to do about it.Thus far, the result has been much hand-wringing and little action.Economic advancement, the availability of birth control, and rising educational achievement caused Jewish fertility to start dropping as long ago as the middle of the 19th century in Europe and later in other modernizing societies like the United States.Nor, as is well known, is the phenomenon limited to Jews, or to the U.The result of all this confusion is disagreement as to the total size of the American Jewish population.

Still, Jewish women in the United States are significantly less fertile than their white, Gentile counterparts.

Until it is confronted, there is little prospect of accomplishing anything beyond hand-wringing.

Demographic Vitality How many Jews are there in the United States? Indeed, the very process of counting has become wrapped in controversy.

On the basis of the consensus figure of 5.5 million, the Jewish population of the United States has, at best, remained static for the past 50 years, despite the influx during that same period of at least a half-million Jewish immigrants. Entitled ewish Distinctiveness in America: A Statistical Portrait, it marshals considerable evidence for the relatively advanced age of the American Jewish population.

If there is debate over absolute numbers, there is far wider agreement on the patterns of behavior within the Jewish population ― behavior confirmed by dozens of community studies and separate opinion polls. First, in terms of median age, Jews are seven years older than other Americans. Among religious groups, only liberal Protestants exceed Jews in this regard; among ethnic groups, only Americans of British ancestry do.

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