The 2001 census of Britain found just under 267,000 Jews in
England, Scotland and Wales, making them slightly less than
0.5 percent of the British population. But the religion
question was voluntary and nearly a quarter of the overall
population did not answer it.
Areas that are known to have substantial Jewish populations,
such as chareidi neighborhoods in London, tended to have
higher than average "no response" or "no religion" answers to
the religion question, according to Stanley Waterman of the
Institute for Jewish Policy Research, a London think tank.
The institute suggests there may be as many as 310,000 Jews
in Britain, almost 10 percent more than the 285,000 estimate
by the Board of Deputies.
Still, even the figure of 285,000 may be high by traditional
standards, as many of these people probably do not have
Jewish mothers, and others are very estranged from the Jewish
Waterman said the chareidi community in particular had been
undercounted. The census found slightly fewer than 11,000
Jews in the London borough of Hackney, home of the country's
largest chareidi population. A survey conducted by the
Interlink Foundation last year put the range of the community
in Stamford Hill between 18,000 and 22,000, kein
yirbu. The Interlink Foundation said that the community
is growing by about 8 percent a year, which means that it can
be expected to double in about 9 years.
Rabbi Avraham Pinter, the principal of a chareidi girls'
school and a former city council member from Hackney, said
many chareidi Jews had not answered the religion question on
the UK census. He said that one of the two newspapers serving
the community, The Jewish Tribune, discouraged
chareidi Jews from answering the religion question.
The Institute for Jewish Policy Research has done surveys
since the census that found that only 84 percent of non-
chareidi Jews in London and 89 percent of Jews in the
northern city of Leeds said they were Jewish on the census
Barry Kosmin, director of the institute, said there was also
an undercount among the elderly and the foreign-born, and
perhaps among students. Kosmin said the census found another
surprising result: the presence of at least three Jews in
every one of the country's 367 local authorities, except the
remote Scilly Isles off England's southwestern tip.
"The most Jewish Jews, the chareidim, didn't show up on the
survey, but the Jews of the shires revealed themselves," he
told JTA, referring to rural parts of the country.
"The Board of Deputies estimated that there were 8,000 Jews
outside of the 20 main centers, and the census showed
25,000," he said
He added the census seemed to support findings from a major
study of the Jews of London published by the institute at the
end of last year.
The survey, "A Portrait of Jews in London and the South-
East," found the community to be generally more interested in
Jewish culture than religion.
The survey found Jews to be predominantly secular, middle-
class and settled.
The 2001 census was the first since 1851 that attempted to
survey religion in Britain, but the 1851 census counted
houses of worship, rather than asking people their