Monday, October 11, 2004

Is this the future? Jews as ultra-minority

Miriam is en route back to the UK from her stay in Toronto. As we said goodbye at the airport, her parting words were "By the way, you have to do the blog until Monday night." Fortunately, today is a public holiday in Canada (Canadian Labour Day).

A fascinating statistical report from the UK government census focuses on religion. I haven't had time to read the entire report, but all sorts of data about the Jewish community jump out. (Can't link to the individual relevant pages, but the index on the side of the main page is clear, quick and easy to use.)

  • Total number is given as less than 270,000 -- a huge drop over previous figures, and over the figures used by the Jewish community. 56% of Jews live in London.
  • Jews are less than half of one percent of the total population. Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims have greater populations. There are approximately six times as many Muslims as Jews. The political implications of this are not difficult to understand.
  • The Muslim population is the most disadvantaged - health, work and employment - of all the religious groups. They are the youngest; and the Jewish community is the oldest of all UK groups, including the Christians.

Pretty depressing, overall. If these data are even remotely representative of other Jewish communities elsewhere, the demographic, not to say political, future is beset with difficulties. On the other hand, it is astonishing that such a tiny community has such an organised and high-profile identity.

No comments: