Study: 26 per cent of British Jews intermarry, less than half the rate of U.S. Jews

LONDON (JTA) – Intermarriage among British Jews in 2011 stood at 26 per cent, less than half the rate documented among American Jews, according to a new demographic study.

The report published Tuesday by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research is based on data from the National Jewish Community Survey and the 2001 and 2011 national censuses.

Out of 123,113 Jews living in couples in 2011, only 36,711 indicated they were married (in 89 per cent of the cases) or co-habiting (in the remaining 11 per cent) with a non-Jewish partner.

“Although this is the highest level to date and is reflected of an upward trend,” the report said, “it has risen only by two percentage points since the 1990s.”

Overall, the intermarriage rate among US Jews stood at 58 per cent in 2013, up from 43 per cent in 1990 and 17 per cent in 1970. Among non-Orthodox Jews, the intermarriage rate was 71 per cent.

Although Britain’s haredi Orthodox population has expanded greatly as a proportion of all British Jews in recent years, the authors of the report say that their higher levels of religious observance do not account for the difference between Jews in the U.K. and U.S.  “The removal of haredim from the data barely changes the overall picture,” according to the report. “Removing the haredi data raises [intermarriage] from 22 per cent to 24 per cent,” excluding co-habitation.

The study also probed divorce. It found that 16,346 Jews in Great Britain are divorced, and 17 per cent of all Jews are either divorced now or have divorced in the past. Jewish divorce increased between 2001 and 2011 from eight per cent to 11. And while this is lower than the national average, Jews are still likelier to divorce than British residents with Asian or Arab backgrounds, the report states.

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