2011 National Household Survey Analysis
The Jewish Community of Montreal
Highlights of Part 1: Basic Demographics
- The Jewish population of Montreal was 90,780 in 2011. Jews comprised 2.4% of the total Montreal population.
- Between 2001 and 2011 the Jewish community diminished by 2,760 people, or 3%. This loss was significantly lower than that experienced in the previous decade.
- Montreal has the second largest Jewish community in Canada, and about a quarter (23.2%) of the country’s Jewish population.
- The total number of Jewish seniors has decreased since 2001, from 20,165 to 18,525 individuals. Nonetheless, the Jewish community has a much larger proportion of seniors (20.4%) than Montreal’s total population (13.4%).
- The percentage of Baby Boomers (46-65 years) in the Montreal Jewish community is relatively low compared to other populations. The local community has a higher proportion of parents of Baby Boomers.
- The median age of the Montreal Jewish community (39.9 years) is somewhat younger than that of the Canadian Jewish population (40.5 years). This is a surprising finding which is probably related to the lower number of seniors in the community.
- The size of the Jewish community’s population ranks eleventh among ethnic groups in Montreal. The largest representations are among the Canadian, French, Italian, Arab, British, and Caribbean communities.
- Jews rank fifth in size among religious groups. Catholics are the largest group, followed by Protestants, Muslims and Christian Orthodox.
Highlights of Part 3: Jewish Seniors
- There are 18,525 Jewish elderly 65+ years residing in the Montreal CMA. Seniors comprise 20.4% of the 90,780 members of the Jewish community here. There are 9,720 Jews 75+ years, comprising 10.7% of the Montreal Jewish population. These figures do not include Jewish seniors living in institutions.
- The percentage of elderly in the Montreal Jewish community (20.4%) is much higher than the proportion of seniors in the overall Montreal population (13.5%). It is also higher than the percentage of elderly in the Canadian Jewish population (16.9%).
- A large number of elderly Jews reside in Cote St. Luc (6,290), comprising almost a third (32.4%) of the total Jewish population in that area. There are also large contingents of Jewish seniors in Ville St. Laurent (2,045), Cote des Neiges (1,380), and Westmount (1,265).
- Almost half (44.8%) of elderly Jewish women live alone, comprising 4,540 individuals. Only 17.3% of men live in single person households, comprising 1,455 persons. There are 3,950 elderly women and 695 elderly men in the Montreal Jewish community who are widowed.
- A total of 3,615 seniors live below the poverty line, or 19.5% of the elderly Jewish population. More than a third (39.8%) of elderly women who live alone are poor, comprising 1,810 individuals. The number of poor elderly women in single person households is more than three times that of men.
- Statistical projections suggest that the figure of 18,525 Jewish seniors in 2011 will increase to 20,562 by 2021. As the Baby Boomers swell the ranks of the elderly, the 65-74 age group is predicted to increase significantly from 8,805 to 11,332 individuals in the current decade. This increase has important implications for service planning and the future allocation of community resources.
Highlights of Part 4: The Jewish Poor
- There are 18,130 Jews living below the poverty line in the Montreal CMA. The poor comprise 20% of a total Jewish population of 90,780 in the local community.
- The percentage of economically disadvantaged has been steadily rising in the Montreal Jewish community. In 1981 there were 15.5% poor here, compared to 17.7% in 1991, 18.6% in 2001, and 20% in 2011.
- The level of poverty among children 0-14 years in the Montreal Jewish population is 20.5%. There are 3,655 children in the local Jewish community who live in economically disadvantaged circumstances.
- The Jewish poor are not localized to any region or district in Montreal. Of the 14 geographic areas described in this report, 8 have at least 1,000 Jews living below the poverty line.
- More than a third (34%) of individuals living in female single parent families are economically disadvantaged. The poverty level of children under 15 years living in these families is remarkably high (51%).
- Young Jewish adults between 15-24 years who are unattached (living alone or with non-relatives) are a particularly vulnerable group for poverty (81.5%).
- More than half (60.7%) of individuals relying on social assistance or worker’s compensation live below the poverty cut-off. Among individuals 55-64 years who rely on such payments, the poverty level is a staggering 74.4%.
- There are 2,870 “working poor” in the local Jewish community who earn wages that are not sufficient to push their income above the poverty line.
Highlights of Part 5: The Jewish Family
- There are 40,400 Jewish households in Montreal, comprising 2.5% of the total 1,613,285 households in this metropolitan area.
- The current level of those living in family arrangements (82.6%) is lower than the proportions in 2001 (83.4%) and 1991 (83.9%).The percentage of Jews living in families has thus declined in the last two decades.
- The number of Montreal Jews living in single parent families (7,525) is similar to that of 1991 (7,415), although the current figure represents a peak for this group.
- About one in eleven Jewish children (< 15 years) in Montreal live in lone parent families (8.6%).
- Of 14,910 Jews who are unattached, 2,020 live with non-relatives, and 12,890 live alone. Persons living alone comprise 14.2% of the total Jewish population in this metropolitan area.
- While seniors represent 20.4% of all Montreal's Jews, they account for 46.5% of all Jews who live alone.
- In the last decade, the fastest growing groups as far as marital status is concerned were those who are divorced / separated (+20%) and those choosing to live in common law arrangements (+16.7%).
- By the age of 25 years, 7.9% of Jews in this metropolitan area have married at least once. By the age of 45 years, 70.5% have married at least once. Finally, by 65 years, 90.9% have married at least once.
Highlights of Part 6: Intermarriage
- 16.7% of Jewish spouses / partners are married to, or partnered with, non-Jews in the Montreal metropolitan area. This figure is considered to be the intermarriage rate for the Montreal Jewish community. In absolute terms, 6,815 of 40,885 Jewish spouses / partners are intermarried.
- Another way of determining the intermarriage rate is to look at the total number of Jews living in intermarried families, including children. There are 10,100 individuals who live in intermarried households, representing 15% of all persons living in couple arrangements.
- There has been an increase of 38.2% of Jews living in intermarried households in the last two decades. The number has climbed from 7,310 to 10,100 individuals between 1991-2011. As a proportion of the total Jewish population, the percentage of Jews living in intermarried households increased from 9.5% in 1991 to 15% in 2011.
- The geographic area with the largest proportion of Jews living in intermarried households is the miscellaneous area of "Rest of Montreal CMA" (48.1%), followed by NDG / Montreal Ouest (30.1%) and Centre Ville (23.5%). In absolute terms, the largest number of intermarried Jews live in "Rest of Montreal CMA" (4,180). These individuals are more geographically distant from Jewish centers and therefore represent a special challenge for community outreach and engagement efforts.
- The level of intermarriage among spouses less than 30 years of age is 25.2%. Among those who are at least 40 years old, it is 14.1%.
- About one in eight Jewish children under 15 years of age (living in couple families) reside in intermarried arrangements (12.7%). About one in six children under the age of 5 years live in intermarried families (16.4%).
- Regarding the youngest children of intermarried couples, almost a third (30.7%) are identified by their parents as Jews; about half (50.9%) are assigned no religious affiliation; and the rest (18.4%) are identified as having other religions. Whether it is the husband or the wife who is of the Jewish faith has a significant bearing on the religious orientation of their children.
Highlights of Part 7: The Sephardic Community
- There are 22,225 Sephardim residing in the Montreal CMA. Sephardim comprise 24.5% of the 90,780 members of the Jewish community here. There are also 715 individuals of mixed (Sephardic and Ashkenazi) extraction living in this metropolitan area.
- There are 3,755 Sephardic children under 15 years, 3,045 teenagers and young adults between 15-24 years, 5,315 individuals between 25-44 years, 5,570 individuals between 45-64 years, and 4,540 Sephardic seniors (65+ years) living in the Montreal metropolitan area. The Sephardic age distribution peaks among middle-aged adults (45-64 years).
- About one in five Sephardim (20.4%) are seniors. As large numbers of middle-aged Sephardim enter their senior years, the proportion of Sephardic elderly will likely increase significantly.
- Cote St. Luc has the largest population of Sephardim in the Montreal CMA (5,580). There are also large contingents of Sephardim living in Ville St. Laurent (3,365) and the West Island (2,205).
- There are 9,735 Canadian-born Sephardim living in Montreal, comprising 43.8% of the Sephardic community. The rest of the Sephardic population (56.2%) are immigrants. More than a quarter of Sephardim (28.3%) were born in Morocco.
- The great majority of Sephardim (73.8%) live in couple arrangements, while one in ten Sephardim (10%) live in single parent families, and 15% are unattached (living alone or with non-relatives).
- Sephardim appear to be slightly more inclined to marry by the end of middle age than the rest of the Jewish community. However, they are also more inclined to experience divorce.
- The percentage of adult Sephardim that have a university degree has increased significantly from 35.7% in 2001 to 45.7% in 2011.
- There are 4,080 poor Sephardim residing in the Montreal metropolitan area, or 18.4% of the total Sephardic population. The poverty level among Sephardim is lower than that of the rest of the Jewish community (20.5%).
- Those who are particularly vulnerable to poverty include Sephardic seniors living alone (47.7%); Sephardic adults between 15-64 years living alone (47.3%); and Sephardim living in female single parent families (32.7%).
Highlights of Part 8: Immigration & Language
- About a third (33.9%) of the Montreal Jewish population are immigrants, that is, they were born outside Canada, whereas 66.1% were born in this country.
- Of a total of 129,680 Jewish immigrants residing in Canada, 23.7% live in the Montreal metropolitan area, comprising 30,795 individuals.
- In the local Jewish population, there are 8,380 Jews who were born in North Africa / Middle East (excluding Israel). There are also 4,465 Jews who were born in Israel, 4,365 born in the Former Soviet Union, 3,965 in Western Europe, 3,965 in Eastern Europe, 3,880 in the United States, and 870 in South America.
- During the period 2000-2011, 6,420 Jewish immigrants settled in Montreal; of these, 3,885 arrived in 2005 or later.
- Between 2000 and 2011, the largest number of Jewish immigrants came from the Former Soviet Union (1,915), followed by 1,300 from Israel and 1,105 from the United States. Many of the Jewish immigrants from the United States are likely Ultra-Orthodox Jews.
- The youngest median ages, of any immigrant group in the Montreal Jewish community, are of those born in Mexico (34 years) and the United States (35.4 years). The oldest include Jews born in Poland (82.5 years), Czechoslovakia (79.2 years), Syria (77.9 years), Iraq (76 years), Hungary (74.2 years), and Rumania (74.2 years).
- Cote St. Luc has the largest number of foreign-born Jews in Montreal (7,535), followed by "Rest of Montreal" (4,835), Ville St. Laurent (3,030), and the West Island (2,545).
- In terms of the most recent immigrants (2005 – 2011), the largest contingents by far are living in "Rest of Montreal" (1,055) and Cote St. Luc (1,025). Other areas where such immigrants have settled include the West Island (250), Snowdon (245), and Outremont (200).
- More than half (53%) of the local Jewish population report English as their native language. Less than one in five (17.8%) say French is their mother tongue.
- More than two-thirds (68.3%) of the Jewish community has a conversational knowledge of both English and French. In terms of age cohorts, 80.2% of Montreal Jews between 15-24 years are bilingual, compared to 82.6% of those 25-34 years, 79.7% of those 35-44 years, 75.1% of those 45-54 years, and 74.8% of those 55-64 years. Only 56.8% of seniors 65+ years are bilingual. In short, level of bilingualism diminishes with age.
- About a quarter (22.8%) of Jewish immigrants rely on government benefits such as social welfare or training income within the first five years of their arrival, whereas almost two-thirds (59.4%) earn wages or are self-employed. Immigrants in the overall Montreal CMA population have higher rates of those receiving government assistance (27.6%), and lower levels of those earning employment income or who are self-employed (51.5%).
- Jewish immigrants who arrived between 2005 and 2011 have a 32.8% level of poverty, compared to 28.3% of those who arrived between 2000-2011. The level of economic disadvantage then drops to 23.5% for those who arrived between 1990-1999, and 21.7% for those who came between 1980-1989.
- The findings on poverty and income level suggest that there is a window of economic vulnerability that lasts at least for a decade, and is especially stark in the five years immediately following an immigrant’s arrival here.
- The highest level of poverty is found amongst Jewish immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (28.8%) followed by individuals born in the United States (28.3%).
Highlights of Part 9: Core FSU Jews
- Jews of “Core” FSU extraction were defined as individuals who identified themselves as Jewish according to the Revised Jewish Definition, and were born in the FSU, had parents who were born in the FSU, or were children in a household where the parents met any of the above criteria.
- The total number of Core FSU Jews in the Montreal CMA was found to be 7,760. Individuals of Core FSU extraction comprise 8.5% of the total population of 90,780 Jews residing in the Greater Montreal Area.
- Compared to "Other Jews" living in Greater Montreal, Core FSU Jews have greater percentages of individuals for every cohort less than 45 years of age, whereas "Other Jews" have larger proportions for every age group 45+ years of age. In fact, 30.9% of Core FSU Jews are 45+ years compared to 46.1% of "Other Jews".
- The median age of Core FSU Jews (32.9 years) is lower than that of "Other Jews" living in the Montreal CMA (40.8 years).
- There is a large representation of Core FSU Jews in Cote St. Luc (1,855). There is also a large contingent of Core FSU Jews in Snowdon (1,050). Other areas with at least 500 Jews of Core FSU extraction include the West Island (950) and NDG / Montreal Ouest (555).
- There are 1,715 Core FSU Jews living in the miscellaneous geographic category of “Rest of Montreal”. These persons may be less affiliated with the Jewish community, and harder to reach from the point of view of providing social services and supports.
- Jews of Core FSU extraction comprise almost a fifth (19.6%) of the Snowdon Jewish population. They also comprise 13.4% of Jews living in "Rest of Montreal".
- Core FSU Jews comprise 7,780 of 43,390 total individuals of FSU extraction living in the Montreal CMA, or 17.9%. In other words, more than a sixth of the total FSU population residing in Greater Montreal are identified as Jews.
- Core FSU Jews comprise a majority of total individuals of FSU extraction in Hampstead (83.1%) and Snowdon (52.5%). Almost half (49.7%) of all individuals of FSU extraction located in Cote St. Luc are Jews.
- The Cote St. Luc Jewish community has the largest numbers of Core FSU children less than 15 years (495), teens and young adults 15-24 years (260), and seniors 65+ years (275). The "Rest of Montreal" Jewish population has the largest numbers of Core FSU individuals 25-44 years (620) and middle-aged persons 45-64 years (325).
Highlights of Part 10: Holocaust Survivors
- There are 5,795 Holocaust Survivors representing 33.1% of Jewish seniors residing in the Montreal CMA. In short, almost a third of Montreal’s Jewish elderly are Survivors.
- There are 4,520 Child Survivors and 1,280 Adult Survivors living in the Montreal CMA.
- Survivors comprise a larger percentage of individuals who are 75+ years than Jews who are not Survivors: 63.3% and 51.7% respectively.
- The proportion of individuals who are often disabled is somewhat larger among Survivors (25.3%) than for Jewish non-Survivors (19.4%) and the total senior population in the Montreal CMA (17.4%).
- More than a quarter (27.3%) of Montreal's Survivors live below the poverty line, comprising 1,580 individuals. The level of poverty among Survivors is significantly higher than that of Jewish seniors who are non-Survivors (15.7%).
- The poverty rate among Survivors 66-74 years (20.9%) is much higher than Jewish non-Survivors in the same age group (13.1%).
- The poverty level for Survivors 75+ years (31%) is significantly higher than that for Jewish non- Survivors in the same age group (18.1%), and also higher than that for the total Montreal population who are 75+ years (26.8%).
- Male Survivors have a much lower risk of poverty than females (19.3% and 32.9% respectively).
- In the case of male Survivors, increasing age seems to be associated with higher levels of poverty, although the trend is not striking. On the other hand, the risk of poverty for female Survivors increases dramatically as they get older. About a quarter (24.3%) of female Survivors 66-74 years are poor; 34.9% of those 75-84 years are poor; and 42.7% of those 85+ years are poor.
- The segment of Survivors most likely to experience economic disadvantage is “females living alone”. More than half (51.5%) of this group lives under the poverty line. Male Survivors living alone also have a very high poverty level, at 46%.
- The largest Survivor population is located in the Toronto metropolitan area, with 8,930 individuals, or 51.6% of the total Survivor population in Canada. Montreal has 5,795 Survivors, or about a third (33.5%) of the national Survivor population.