Married and renting - report reveals the state of Jewish households

A new report delves into Jewish households to reveal how we live now


British Jewry may be growing poorer with a decline in home ownership and a rise in people renting accommodation, according to a report published this week.

Home ownership among Jews in England and Wales fell from 77 per cent of households to 73 per cent over the past decade. Jews are still more likely to own their homes than the general population, where the figure is 64 per cent.

Over the same period, home renting among Jews increased by nine per cent and those living in overcrowded conditions rose by eight per cent, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) found.

The figures could indicate "a decline in the average level of wealth in the Jewish population," the report said. A drop in wealth had clear implications for community organisations "dependent on voluntary donations".

The study also found that Jewish children are more likely to be raised by married couples and less by cohabiting or single parents than in the general population.

Key numbers

Percentage of Jewish households owning their homes
Average number of people per Jewish household
Average size of a Charedi household
Percentage of Jewish men aged over 24 living with their parents. The figure for women is 10 per cent.
Percentage of Jewish children raised by married couples

The report, Jewish families and Jewish households, is based on analysis from the 2011 national Census.

While a third of Jewish households were made up of singles, in 29 per cent of households, Jews were living either with people of other faiths or of no religion in 2011. While intermarriage might account for some of this, mixed households also comprised flat shares, for example among students.

By their mid to late 20s, half of Jews were settled in relationships, while 55 per cent were married in their early 30s and 13 per cent cohabiting.

The vast majority of Jewish children under 16 - 88 per cent - are raised by married couples, compared with 58 per cent nationally.

Only nine per cent of Jews grow up in single-parent families, compared to 25 per cent nationally; and only three per cent of Jewish children have cohabiting parents, compared with 15 per cent nationally.

The traditional family structure remains "strong among Jews" despite its erosion in the nation as a whole, the report comments.

Overall, 38 per cent of Jewish households comprised married couples - compared with 33 per cent nationally. (Hindus have a much higher rate with 53 per cent of households married).

While the number of Jewish households fell by five per cent to 110,726 from the previous Census in 2001, the number of Jews in each household actually increased. There were an average of 2.31 people in a Jewish household in 2011 compared to 2.17 in 2001; the national average in 2011 was 2.36.

But the report noted significant differences according to religious background. Whereas Charedi households averaged 4.4 people and Orthodox 3.6, secular Jews had the lowest number at 2.13, according to data from the JPR's own community survey of 2013.

"It is striking how small non-Charedi Jewish households are," JPR said.

Around eight per cent of Jewish households were overcrowded, particularly in areas with a large Charedi population, such as Hackney, Salford and Gateshead.

The high cost of home ownership could explain another statistic. The number of Jews aged from 20 to 44 who were living alone dropped by 23 per cent in a decade.

Partly this was down to fewer people in the age group compared to 10 years earlier. But another factor was "likely to be affordability - increased costs of living outside the parental home may be delaying young adults from moving out, and, when they do take this decision, they may be more likely to choose to live with friends or flatmates to help keep costs down, rather than to live alone."

Young Jewish men are more likely to remain in the nest than women. After the age of 24, just under 20 per cent of Jewish men were living at home, compared with 10 per cent of Jewish women. "By their 30s, less than one in 10 [overall] lives at home," the report said.

The report also noted the impact of university students on local numbers.

During term-time, the Jewish population of Nottingham - the city with the highest number of all-Jewish student households - almost doubles, while Oxford's and Cambridge's swells by a quarter.

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