Manchester’s Jewish population has been calculated at a maximum 28,000 — 10,000 less than the number often cited by communal leaders.
Presenting the figures to a Manchester Jewish Representative meeting on demographics, Dr Jonathan Boyd from the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (JPR) said the 2011 census figure for Manchester Jewry was 25,000. Allowing for accepted statistical adjustments, it could at most be 28,000.
Although there had been a decline in the mainstream Jewish population, there had been a steep rise in the Charedi community to 9,500, which now accounted for more than one-third of Manchester Jewry.
“The reason why there is stabilisation in the Jewish population is due to a Charedi growth that is sufficiently large to offset the decline happening elsewhere in the community,” Dr Boyd said. Manchester was at the “cutting edge” of Charedi population growth.
“Elsewhere [in Manchester], the overwhelming trend is for people to move out. The migration path is only going to exacerbate the population changes,” he warned.
Nava Kestenbaum, from strictly Orthodox charity Interlink, presented initial findings of a Salford-based demographic study that Interlink had conducted with help from Salford City Council.
The detailed survey found that 91 per cent of Salford Jews considered themselves Charedi. Households averaged six people and children aged under 10 accounted for 36 per cent of the local Jewish community.
Salford’s Broughton Jewish Primary has seen a 27 per cent rise in pupils in just two years.
The pupil roll at Prestwich’s Yesoiday Hatorah Primary is up nearly 10 per cent over the same period.
“Unless we address that growth we will have a crisis with schools,” Mrs Kestenbaum said.
Community development professional Jonny Wineberg, who advises a number of Manchester Jewish charities, said: “What’s important is the dip in young adults in our mainstream community. Unless action is taken, you haven’t got a chance of stemming the decline.”