The Merseyside Jewish population has shrunk... but there's hope for the future

Survey suggests a community of around 2,000 a fall of 500 in a decade, although employment opportunities are bringing younger families to the area


The Liverpool Jewish community has shrunk by around a fifth over the past decade, based on the findings of the first local Jewish census since 2011.

Run by the community’s demographics offer, Philip Sapiro, for Merseyside Jewish Representative Council, the survey was conducted from August to November last year.

Responses were anonymous and 40 per cent of the community took part.

Extrapolating from the information supplied, Mr Sapiro projects a Greater Liverpool Jewish population of just under 2,000, with the highest numbers in age categories between 60 and 90. The largest concentrations are in areas around its major synagogues, which are in Childwall and Allerton.

In a “relatively ageing community” he attributes the numerical decline of around 500 to a combination of deaths and young people leaving the area after completing their studies — the smallest population age groups are between 20 and 40.

“I’m fortunate that one of my sons lives in Liverpool,” Mr Sapiro, 70, told the JC. Many of his friends’ children have moved away.

Of the children born to Merseyside Jewish households that are aged 25 and above, as many now live in London and the Hertfordshire suburbs as remain in the Liverpool area, and a quarter of those aged 20-44 currently on Merseyside expect to move away in the next ten years.

But interestingly, while two-thirds of the over-70s who completed the census were born locally, the figure dropped to a third for under-50s.

People were coming to the city for academic or medical jobs, Mr Sapiro explained. “There are probably more people from Israel living here than I imagined. And more young adults than people appreciate.”

Half the 30-39s who responded to the census had moved to Merseyside in the last ten years, along with a quarter of the 40-49s.

“So not only are we dependent on ‘in-migration’ for a major element of our younger adult population. We are also reliant on it to maintain numbers of children in the community.”

The new arrivals accounted for half the children aged under ten reported among the respondents.

Mr Sapiro noted that the decline in Jewish pupils at the city’s King David schools had stalled, with one year group recording numbers that were well above-average.

In questions about lifestyle, 86 per cent of respondent households were car owners, a quarter had a bicycle, 83 per cent used a smartphone and 90 per cent had home broadband.

Meanwhile, more than 40 per cent of men aged 65-74 said they were still working on a full or part-time basis. The findings will be used to support future planning for Merseyside Jewry, where a key offering is its range of welfare services, including its Stapely care home for the elderly.

Nearby Southport was also included in the census, with responses indicating an additional Jewish population of 200.

A retired civil engineer in transport planning, Mr Sapiro conducted previous community surveys in 2006 and 2011. He has completed a PhD in the demographic characteristics of the Jewish population of England and Wales.

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