Survey: Rate of marrying out is slowing


By Simon Rocker, January 30, 2014

One in four of all Jews in a relationship has a non-Jewish partner but the rate of intermarriage has slowed.

Overall, 23 per cent of married couples are mixed faith and 61 per cent of cohabiting Jews have a non-Jewish partner.

While fewer than one in five of Jews who married in the 1970s had a non-Jewish spouse (18 per cent), a quarter of Jews marrying since 2000 did so.

But the report comments: “The steep rise in the prevalence of intermarriage which took place prior to the 1980s has slowed considerably and is now an almost ‘flat’ level.”

Whereas intermarriage is non-existent among Charedim, the rate is 10 per cent among those who were raised Orthodox and 12 per cent of those raised traditional. But it is much higher among other groups — 39 per cent for those were raised Reform and 48 per cent for those raised secular or cultural.

Taking Progressive, secular and Jews who consider themselves “just Jewish”, the combined intermarriage rate was 51 per cent in the 1990s but 49 per cent since 2000.

Intermarriage has considerable impact on Jewish identification. “Respondents with non-Jewish partners are considerably less observant than those with Jewish partners.”

Jews with non-Jewish partners are around half as likely to attend a Pesach Seder as an all-Jewish couple (48 per cent as against 93 per cent), or feel that supporting Israel is important (42 per cent as against 84 per cent).

“The intermarried are also less likely to consider volunteering and charitable giving to be important aspects of being Jewish,” the report says.

But there is not much difference between the in-married and intermarried in attitudes towards social justice or Jewish cultural events.

More Jewish women — 28 per cent — are intermarried than Jewish men — 25 per cent.


As the strictly Orthodox sector becomes a larger proportion of the Jewish community, it will inevitably push down the rate of intermarriage. But the report calls for more research into why the rate has slowed among the non-Orthodox: could Jewish schools be a factor, for instance?

It would be useful to know in what percentage of intermarried couples, the non-Jewish partner goes on to convert.

But the data confirms that the more religiously traditional Jews are, the less likely they are to intermarry.

Last updated: 1:26pm, January 30 2014