The Impact of Religious Upbringing and Marriage Markets on Jewish Intermarriage

Published In: Population Research Center Discussion Paper Series, no. 94-15 (Chicago : Population Research Center, Apr. 1994)

Posted on on April 01, 1994

by Linda Waite, Judith Sheps

The rate of religious intermarriage in first marriages has risen dramatically in the last two decades. This paper uses data from the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey to examine determinants of intermarriage of Jewish men and women entering a first marriage between 1923 and 1990. We develop and test a series of hypotheses about the effect of religious upbringing, family background and personal characteristics on the probability of intermarriage. Our results show evidence of change in the determinants of intermarriage for cohorts marrying prior to and after 1970. Religious family background and religious education both have some effect on the chances of intermarriage. We also examine the effect of the size of the Jewish population in the metropolitan area of residence on intermarriage for very recent marriages; we find that the larger the Jewish population in the area the lower the chances that a Jewish man or woman marries some of another religion.

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