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Researchers Say Pittsburgh's Jewish Population Is Highly Educated And Continues To Grow

Keith Srakocic
Students at the Community Day School listen to the speakers during the groundbreaking ceremony of a memorial to commemorate victims of the Holocaust in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh on Thursday, April 19, 2012.

A survey of greater Pittsburgh's Jewish population done by Brandeis University shows the community is highly educated and made up of nearly 50,000 people, one quarter of which live in Squirrel Hill.

Researchers said the population has grown since their last study in 2002. They said the recent abundance of young couples and children suggest the community's growth is likely to continue.

Matthew Boxer, one of the researchers, said Jews are one of the most highly educated demographics in the country, which is reflected in the study. According to the survey, 97 percent of Pittsburgh-area Jewish residents have at least some level of college education. More than half have graduate degrees.

"The Pittsburgh Jewish community is even more highly educated than the American Jewish community as a whole," Boxer said. "Where you have good jobs, and where you need highly educated people to fill them, that's where the Jewish community tends to grow."

Though many reported wealth, Boxer said nearly one quarter of Jewish households self-identified as poor or just getting by financially.

"And so it's very important to remember that even though the Jewish community tends to be relatively affluent, there are members of the community who are struggling and could use a little bit of help," Boxer said.

The study also reveals that community ties are important for many local Jews. Eighty percent of Jewish adults define being Jewish as a matter of community, and 93 percent of Jewish adults donated to charity at some point in the past year.