Demographic Survey Asks, “What’s on the Minds of the Next Jewish Generation?”

Responses Are In from College Students at 55 Campuses Nationwide

Hartford, CT, December 1, 2014 –A great majority of Jewish college students in America indicate they are connected to their Jewishness primarily through cultural activities. When students who self-identify as Jewish were asked how often they attend Jewish religious services, the most common answer was “only on High Holidays” and the second most common answer was “never.” Additionally, when asked in an open-ended question about the concerns of young Jews like themselves, American college students named Israel as their top concern. 


Trinity professors Ariela Keysar and Barry Kosmin share a Wordle illustration of top responses from college students when asked about the concerns of young Jews like themselves.
Those were among the findings of an online survey, conducted in March and April 2014, of 1,157 American college students on 55 campuses nationwide. The students were invited to participate if they considered themselves “to be Jewish in any way, such as by religion, culture, ethnicity, parentage, or ancestry.” Trinity College Professors Ariela Keysar and Barry Kosmin, who conducted the research, shared highlights from their new Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students in a presentation at Trinity’s Zachs Hillel House November 13. Their talk, attended by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and invited guests, was sponsored by Trinity College’s Jewish Studies Program.

This survey follows up on Kosmin and Keysar’s 2013 online national survey of the world views and opinions of 2,000 American college students. The survey also complements a 2013 Pew Research Center survey of Jewish Americans, which did not focus on college students.

Among those acknowledged by Keysar and Kosmin for their generous funding support for the survey were Henry Zachs ’56 and Alan Mendelson ’69, who were both in attendance, and the Pears Foundation, U.K., and the Posen Foundation, Switzerland. Trinity students and members of the College’s Information Technology Department staff were also thanked for their collaborative assistance with the survey.

More detailed highlights from the survey findings can be found here. For recent media coverage of the survey, follow these links: realhartford.com; Jewish Ledger; New Voices.