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These are the Most Jewish Cities in America

Nic Lesmeister
By Nic Lesmeister

There’s no question that America is home to a very large Christian population. According to a recent Pew Research report, around 64% of Americans identify as “Christian” (210 million people). This percentage is down from around 90% in the 1970’s, but that is an article for another day.

Because America is so heavily populated by various Christian residents, many people rarely come in contact with a Jewish American. The majority of America’s approximately seven million Jews live in just six different states.

With this in mind, it’s easy to wonder: What are the most Jewish cities in America? According to a recent report by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, here are your answers:

  • 1. New York City – 1.9 million
  • 2. Los Angeles – 617,000
  • 3. Miami – 525,000
  • 4. Chicago – 315,000
  • 5. Philadelphia – 310,000

For those of us living in Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth has a Jewish population of around 75,000. The Houston area comes in at 51,000.

What is the most Jewish state in America?

If you’re wondering what the Jewish population of each state is as a percentage of the total population, here are your answers. These are the most Jewish states in America:

  • 1. New York – 9%
  • 2. Washington, DC – 8%
  • 3. New Jersey – 6%
  • 4. Massachusetts – 4%
  • 5. Maryland – 3%

And, again, for those of us in the Lone Star State, Jewish people make up less than 1% of our total population.

What states have the highest Gen Z Jewish Population?

Statistically, the largest age demographic of the American Jewish community falls into the Baby Boomer generation at 19%. Jewish Americans 55 and older make up 49% of the entire US Jewish population.

Gen Z, which is currently defined as 18-24 years old, make up around 11% of the American Jewish population. What is interesting to me, however, is where the Gen Z Jews live. From the above statistics, we know that the largest Jewish cities in America are New York, L.A., Miami and Chicago — and NYC has almost TWICE as many Jewish residents as Miami.

However, the largest Gen Z Jewish populations in America are in New York and Los Angeles, tied at 36,000 each. It seems that younger Jewish Americans have been choosing to live in the sunny climate of Los Angeles vs. the crowded urban jungle of New York City.

What is the least Jewish state in America?

Lastly, if you’re a stats nerd like me, you’re thinking: where do the least amount of Jewish people live? I’ll give you a hint: it’s cold, dark during the winter, flat, and already sparsely populated.

Did you guess North or South Dakota? If so, you guessed correctly. South Dakota is the least Jewish state in America with only an estimated 250 Jewish residents. North Dakota has less than 400. And if you’re wondering how that compares with the remote state of Alaska, it actually boasts of over 5,000 Jewish residents!

I hope this information has been helpful to understand some of the demographics of the American Jewish population. More than anything, I hope this information makes you more aware of the Jewish communities around YOU. Do some research for yourself to learn if there are Jewish families or organizations in your community. If there are, reach out to them with kindness to let them know how happy you are to have them in your city or neighborhood.

To learn more, click the source links in the footnotes of this article.

By Nic Lesmeister


Gateway Center for Israel

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