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Until it is confronted, there is little prospect of accomplishing anything beyond hand-wringing.
Demographic Vitality How many Jews are there in the United States? Indeed, the very process of counting has become wrapped in controversy.
The result of all this confusion is disagreement as to the total size of the American Jewish population.
Although most scholars have settled on a figure of between 5.2 and 5.5 million, a few, counting both Jews and the Gentiles living with them, would add as many as 1.2 million more.
Economic advancement, the availability of birth control, and rising educational achievement caused Jewish fertility to start dropping as long ago as the middle of the 19th century in Europe and later in other modernizing societies like the United States.
If there is debate over absolute numbers, there is far wider agreement on the patterns of behavior within the Jewish population ― behavior confirmed by dozens of community studies and separate opinion polls. First, in terms of median age, Jews are seven years older than other Americans. Among religious groups, only liberal Protestants exceed Jews in this regard; among ethnic groups, only Americans of British ancestry do.By the year 2006, according to a policy institute in Israel, the American Jewish community, hitherto the world's largest, will for the first time fall behind the Jewish community of Israel in size. Last spring saw a series of private meetings, including one called by the president of the state of Israel, to discuss the demographic situation and what to do about it.Thus far, the result has been much hand-wringing and little action.The fertility gap is especially enormous among Jewish women under the age of thirty-five; even though the gap narrows considerably over the course of the next ten years, at no point do Jewish women attain the fertility levels of their non-Jewish peers or bear children in numbers sufficient to offset population losses from natural causes.It is true that low fertility rates among Jewish women are not a new phenomenon.