Impact Stories:

Our Impact: The 2017 Jewish Community Study

The Jewish population of Pittsburgh has grown to 49,200 according to the 2017 Jewish Community Study, released by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh in February. The study is a testament to the power of collective giving—the study, which was funded by the Jewish Community Foundation, was led by staff from the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard, which is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Campaign. Where the Campaign-funded Jewish Community Scorecard tracks year-to-year metrics on Jewish community engagement, the Foundation-funded Jewish Community Study supplements this tracking by examining in detail the current Jewish engagement and needs in Jewish Pittsburgh.

The study gives us some insight on how to answer tough questions like:

  • How has Jewish Pittsburgh grown over the last 15 years?
  • How many Jewish households in Pittsburgh are struggling with economic insecurity and poverty?
  • How does the type of household influence the religious upbringing of their children?

According to the research, nearly every age demographic has increased over the last 15 years except for adults in their 30’s and 40’s and school-age kids. The number of children declined from about 8,300 in 2002 to approximately 6,400 in 2017.

Despite the relative affluence of Jewish households in Pittsburgh, one-quarter (25%) include at least one person whose impairment, disability, or chronic physical or mental health issue limits the amount of work, school, or housework he or she can do. Eight percent of households indicate that health issues have constrained someone in the home from participating in Jewish life in some way in the Pittsburgh area in the past year.

Lastly, the rates of how children are raised regarding religion by household have remained steady since 2002, but, these findings suggest both a challenge and an opportunity for the Greater Pittsburgh Jewish community.

Very few interfaith families who are not explicitly raising their children as Jews have enrolled them in any sort of Jewish educational program. By contrast, even if parents intend to raise their children as Jews, those children who do not participate in Jewish educational programs have weaker ties to the Jewish community as adults. These findings and others emphasize the ongoing importance of the Community Campaign.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Campaign funds programs and agencies to support community growth, the Howard Levin Clubhouse to provide treatment for those with mental health issues and local days schools to support a Jewish education and ultimately a Jewish future. The Jewish Community Study exposed sizable needs in each of these areas.

The Campaign-funded Jewish Community Scorecard will play a pivotal role in the coming year by helping Jewish organizations to translate the Jewish Community Study results into actionable strategy to address our community’s needs. Through these efforts, vital insights from the study will support continued Jewish community growth and outreach.

Help our community to continue to grow, thrive and prosper by supporting the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Community Campaign.

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