Majority Of USA & UK Jews Will Be Ultra-Orthodox By 2050


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ultra.jpgUltra-orthodox British and American Jews are set to outnumber their more secular counterparts by the second half of this century according to research by a University of Manchester academic. Historian Dr Yaakov Wise says the increase in religious British Jewry – recognisable by their traditional dress – is now outstripping the decline in the overall Jewish population which has been shrinking by one to two per cent each year since the 1950s.

European ultra-orthodox Jewry is expanding more rapidly than at any time since before World War Two.

Almost three out of every four British Jewish births, he says are ultra- orthodox who now account for 45,500 out of a total UK Jewish population of around 275,000 or 17 per cent.

According to Dr Wise and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Professor Sergio Della Pergola, Israel is experiencing similar changes.

Dr Wise said: “If current trends continue there is going to be a profound cultural and political change among British and American Jews – and it’s already well on the way.

“This is in spite of demographic studies which show that the non-Ultra Orthodox Jewish population is flat or falling.

“And you can see evidence for this in communities across the UK: in Greater Manchester for example the Ultra- orthodox number 8,500 which is almost a third of the 28,000 Jews in the region.

“This is up from around one quarter only ten years ago.

“Approximately half of all the Jewish under fives in Greater Manchester are Ultra-orthodox.

“And in Greater London the Ultra-orthodox now account for 18 per cent of the Jewish population, up from less than 10 per cent in the early 1990s.”

He added: “My work and that of Professor Sergio Della Pergola reveal a similar picture in Israel.

“By the year 2020, the Ultra-orthodox population of Israel will double to one million and make up 17 per cent of the total population.

“A recent Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics report also found that a third of all Jewish pupils will be studying at haredi schools by 2012, prompting emergency meetings at the Education Ministry.

“In America too, where the Jewish population is stable or declining, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish numbers are growing rapidly.

“Professor Joshua Comenetz from The University of Florida says the Ultra-orthodox population doubles every 20 years, which he says may make the Jewish community not only more religiously observant but more politically conservative.

“Comenetz estimated the Ultra-orthodox population in 2000 was about 360,000, 7.2 per cent of the approximately 5 million Jews in the U.S.

“But in 2006, demographers now estimate the number had grown to 468,000 or 9.4 per cent.”

(Source: University of Manchester)


  1. Thank you for this wonderful story of Nechamah (comfort and hope) on Erev Tisha B’Av. However, the repeated use of the anti-Semitic term ULTRA-orthodox is very disturbing. In the future, could YW please edit articles from non-Jewish and non-Frum souces to remove such objectionable language. Charedi is the preferred term for pious Jews.

  2. Realize that the media distinguishes all religious Jews as “charedei”, b”h that religious observance and ## are increasing. The bad news is we are losing the battle to intermarriages, assimilation, disinterest, & lack of knowledge. Please view aish hatorah’s film about the horrific “spiritual holocaust” that we are in the midst of, link is “From the Ashes” at

  3. Avraham “Charedi is the preferred term for pious Jews”, who says? The connotations in the media gives that word a real whipping. Many of us prefer “Torah Jews” or “Religious Jews”.

  4. Agree with Avraham . . . to a point. I hope to be pious, but I would not want to be called “Charedi” – I prefer “Torah observant.” I not a big fan of labels, and acknowledge being “Orthodox” only because it’s a convenient term that emerged to distinguish “wholly Torah observant” from Conservative and Reform (of course, who among us can claim to be “wholly observant?” I think we endeavor to be wholly observant, but our yetzer hora gets the better of us, whether it be lashon hora or other infractions).

  5. re #3. As one of those disappearing secular Jews that Aish tries to reach out to, I’m not so sure that that organization has the right approach. I can only say that in my city, they’ve turned a lot of Jews off with their incessant fund raising and tin ear to our (at least occasionally) valid concerns. I think that it’s a time of mourning for you brought about by Jews not getting along, and I don’t want to add to that. I just thought you might appreciate a view from a different perspective.

  6. Avraham: Unfortunately this is not a “wonderful story of nechama”, as you put it. It is a very sad state of affairs that we are losing many our bretheren to assimilation. We all like to see our numbers increase – through birth, and of course Kiruv Rechokim, but sadly we lose far more to assimilation.

  7. The one thing you can be sure of, when it comes to “long term statistical projections” is that they are inevitably dead wrong. Simply stated, no one knows all the variables that will come into play long term: For example “Majority Of USA & UK Jews Will Be Ultra-Orthodox By 2050”, Doesn’t that assume:
    a) There will be a USA and UK in 2050
    b) That all the “ultra-orthos” will stay in those countries, rather than leave.

    Do you know how many Jews were in Morocco 50 years ago? What kind of useful projection would you have made about Morocco??

  8. Think straight got it right – This report encapsulates what Tisha B’av is all about, and it’s appropriate that we read this today. This, simply put, is a churban. We should tear k’riah for the thousands and thousands of Jewish souls that are bowing at the alter of secularism and nothingness. Ironically, the vast majority of them are not consciously choosing to do this, they simply aren’t aware of how valuable and meaningful a Torah lifestyle can be. They never learned, were never exposed to it in a meaningful way; They dont even know where to begin.
    While we applaud our birthrate, let’s also reach out to those Jews who need our influence and friendship.

    Hamokom yinachem osunu b’soch sh’ur aveilei tzion verushalayim

  9. #9, I beg to differ, I haven’t missed any point. I insist that no predictions from this story are valid period. What you are saying “non-orthodox Jews are disappearing” is true, because _it has already happened_!, not because it will happen.

    50 years ago, no one would have projected what they are projecting now, because 50 years ago –
    1. Intermarriage rates were probably less than 10 pct.
    2. Most people were marrying and having “2.4” average children”
    3. More Jews were leaving Orthodoxy than staying, this trend was only just beginning to reverse with the spread of Torah Umesorah day schools.

    So while it is true that “non-orthodox Jews are disappearing” it tells us nothing about the future. Nothing.

  10. this is only good news if it means all our non-frum brothers & sisters will be frum by 2050. otherwise it means we have lost them for good to assimilation. this would be r”l a big loss.

  11. I just did, and we see what happened!

    What you must mean, is that next time I should try it when youre not around. (It must be painful.)