Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Age-Gap or Faulty Math?

A week or so ago, a story caused a slight stir on YWN and I also heard it being discussed amongst friends. That story was the pronoucement that shadchanim should set up singles who are within one to two years in age. Even better if the boys are set up with older 'girls.' Those who read Jewish publications, particularly the Yated are well aware of the recent push to shorten the "age-gap" in shidduchim.

The popular math blames the "shidduch crisis" on the age gap: "Since every year the community grows, bli ayin harah, there are not enough boys for the more numerous younger girls. Those extra girls are left out, Rachmana litzlan. The only way to prevent this from continuing is to have boys marry girls who are close to their age. Then, everyone will have a chance, as the number of boys and girls would be equal. (It is interesting to note that in the Chassidishe world, there seems to be no such problem of hundreds of older single girls, because their shidduchim are usually close in age, so there are enough boys available.)"

The popular math reads like this (assuming equal births of girls and boys--although scientific studies show more boys are born into this world than girls):
Year X Y
2009 1000 1000
2010 1050 1050
2011 1103 1103
2012 1158 1158
2013 1216 1216
Totals 5527 5527

As my regular readers know, it is not beyond me to question underlying premises that have been accepted as FACT and this is no different. If a believer in the "age gap" was asked what the chart above referred to, they would direct you to the age gap theory. (A non-believer like me would think I'd been handed a chart on an investment plan).

I'd be interested in a seeing an actual demographic study that shows that each year an increasing number of births in the yeshivish community in each progressing year. Chances are that there is no such study because stats is never so clean. Obviously, childbearing has its limits, so by definition the graph cannot climb upwards forever. At some point the graph must show a nearly flat line. And as long as experts are offering their conjecture, I might as well wonder out loud if there is a descent on the horizon (tuition, economic factors, the much talked about "shidduch crisis")? You can train "boys" to seek out "girls" slightly older, but if the birth rate changes and the math isn't faulty(!) you will have a reversal in the "shidduch crisis."

One would think that the focus of a pronouncement wouldn't be on birthrates but on demographics of the yeshivish community of marriageable age because that would be the demographics of interest? If the increase of each class is not mathematically significant, one has to ask why there are so many excess young ladies for the pool of men? Men marrying young ladies a few years their junior is certainly nothing new!

So either this phenomena has always been in existence to some extent and simply was not viewed as a crisis (certainly a possibility), or there are other factors that needs to be explored before declaring that the age gap between a dater and a datee be no more than 2 years (glad I'm already married! We might be modern Orthodox, but our shadchan certainly wasn't).

The factors that might be potentially interesting to those interested in a more serious study would certainly explore demographics beyond year of birth such as attrition: Do more men exit the yeshivish community than young young women? Since the community is not static, are there more women who enter the community (bt's, young ladies from modern Orthodox backgrounds) than men who enter the community? Is the definition of what constitutes a proper husband so narrow that only a small handful qualify as a "boy?"

Like I mentioned before, it is nothing new or unusual for men to marry women slightly younger than themselves. When I look at the fairly diverse group of friends I have who have married on the younger side, I don't see great age differences. Those who married right out of high school tended to marry peers, as did those who married during college and right out of college, etc. If the yeshivish world is different (as claimed), it is worth asking WHY? If the young men are not looking for a peer, why is that? I imagine that if the above question was probed further, it might leads to questions about a "maturity gap" (term coined here)! If I were to conjecture why a 25 year old yeshivish male would concentrate his dating interests around 19 and 20 year old girls instead of 23 to 25 year old young ladies, there must be a reason why as the default would be a similarly aged peer. (I certainly can't imagine calling up a very wonderful 26 year old professional modern Orthodox young man we are friends with and grabbing his attention by presenting a 20 year old).

If the problem isn't purely a math issue, I'm not quite sure how a pronouncement (with no other changes in the fabric of society) will result in more (successful) marriages.

Readers, let me know in your comments if you shrinking the age-gap is the solution or if there is something deeper going on?


Anonymous said...

I married a younger guy -- I was 28 and he was 26.

I know many more accomplished single women than single men. Most have graduate degrees and they are often offered dates with men without any college degree!

Anonymous said...

The women are 'allowed' to get educated whereas the men aren't. Consequentially, these women require a more sophisticated man. Too many 'sophisticated' women and too few of same in men.

Orthonomics said...

Anon, thanks for chiming in. Currently, females now make up the majority of college students and it is being noted by researchers as a social issue, albeit a politically charged one.

I think you make a good point. I know some "older" frum females that are quite intimidating to date for their male peers because they are very accomplished academically as well as in Torah learning.

Orthonomics said...

I doubt that if the men were "forced" to date these women that it would result in more marriages (dating is less of interest to me than marriage).

Additionally, I did want to add that another issue I believe exists is that there are more men who are "confirmed bachelors" than women. I know plenty of never marriaged older men who simply don't seem that interested in marriage. I can't think of any woman that is "confirmed" in her singlehood.

Ariella's blog said...

I think the real problem with the shidduch crisis is the preoccupation with labels and instant categorization of who is worthy of consideration and who is to be dismissed out of hand. I find the now standard expectation for a shidduch resumes symptomatic of this perspective. I would welcome additional comments to the discussion I posted at Imamother on my blog at and
You cna see the poll results updated earier this week at

Ateres said...

I disagree with the "demographic approach" to the shidduch crisis for a number of reasons:

1. I disagree with any incentives that encourage shadchanim to set up individuals on any basis other than compatibility of the partners. Why should singles reject a potential match just because the boy is older than the girl?

My husband was 26 and I was 18 when we got married. He was not specifically looking for a younger girl, but rather a girl who he was compatible with.

2. I also think that the statistics are simplistic. Although I do think that the growth curb is likely to continue since statistically the Yeshivish community has an average of seven to eight kids per family, the statistics ignore factors such as the amount of ba'alei teshuva and those leaving the community.

Anonymous said...

In a world where meeting on your own is frowned upon, the natural thought process in setting two people up (when looking at them on paper) would be: "She's 19, he's 22 - it's a shidduch." Funnily enough, this thought process works for many couples who are married today. I always thought it was interesting though, that guys who are looking to learn a few years before going to work (and even those who want to learn 'forever') will refuse to go out with girls who are a little older and possibly more capable of supporting them in that endeavor. But that's a whole different topic.

Istavnit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Istavnit said...

Has someone explored potential of a higher incidence of off-the-derech (OTD) situations among boys as the cause of the gap? Cumulative effects of higher OTD in boys would naturally push age gap higher overtime.

Another factor is difference in age when not being married becomes a problem. Some boys are content pushing marriage off into 30s, while this would be a crisis situation for a girl.

gavra@work said...

Even if the curve is flat (which it does not seem to be yet, (no emperical proof but look at all the new sems opening in EY)) the "more desirable (in yeshivish, support money or yichus)" girls are taken at 19-22?, leaving the rest (those not married by 24ish) out in the cold (as they have no dates), while the boys who are older (many don't start dating until 22) are still free to pick from the "new crop" out of Sem.

It seems there are many older girls who are not married (as compared to boys). The solution would be to remove the stigma of dating an older girl, which is what the letter (seems) to be trying to do.

Anonymous said...

o puullleeaaazzzzzzze!!!!!!!!!!!! The reason a 'crisis' suddenly magically exists in the litvishe world is because as opposed to every moral, biological and halachic imperative , the 'velt' has decide to take a man's (ktiv; boy) future earning potential out of the equation of desirability in marriage. What does a 22 year old 'boy' have to do to be considered a desirable 'catch' ? metabolize? warm a bench for 4 years with nary a single test or assesment ? puuleeze

Anonymous said...

not that i have much sympathy for the 'victims ' of the 'crisis' ,but the solution is simple: either
a : stop drinking the kool-aid , or
b: defund all women's kiruv /b.t. seminaries for five years. men disproportionately streaming in will re-calibrate the balance in three years.

Istavnit said...

This is brilliant!

ProfK said...

The solution to the problems in shidduchim (and the letter writer is a bit late on the train--this has been a problem for a while already)are not going to be solved by manipulating statistics and "balancing" the numbers. This is a sociological problem affecting a large swathe of the frum community. The problem is attitude and expectations, on the part of singles, on the part of families, on the part of roshei yeshiva and on the part of the general community. This is a problem of changed societal expectations that are proving to be unrealistic in many ways, both for making shidduchim and for keeping those married couples afloat. The "numbers" that have application to this problem are the ones that follow dollar signs: who has the money, who needs it, who earns it.

A lot of shidduch making today has nothing to do with the happiness and fulfillment of the singles involved and an awful lot to do with buying and selling children--yes you read that correctly.

As for this letter appearing in the Yated, maybe readers should also remember that this publication also published the information that boys should get married young because marriage "matures" a boy and makes him a man. Back when I got married the conventional wisdom was that "boys" didn't get married, only mature "men" did. And yes, the first question asked about a young man who was being presented for a shidduch was not what sugyeh he was learning but what he was doing to make a living.

So sorry, no amount of mathematical computation is going to solve anything regarding shidduchim. Only a major change in community practices is going to do that.

Orthonomics said...

Even if the curve is flat (which it does not seem to be yet, (no emperical proof but look at all the new sems opening in EY)) Gavra-I don't think the number of seminaries is a direct function of population anymore than the number of Gymborees (or other children's gyms) are a function of a growing population.

Seminary is a must today. It wasn't in yesteryear. So of course there will be more seminaries (even where population remains flat). Few skip out today.

ProfK-Thanks for your comments.

Istavnit said...

This article claims that Women are more predisposed to be religious than men.

"George H. Gallup, Jr., in an analysis for the Gallup polling organization back in 2002, wrote that the differences in religiosity between men and women have been shown consistently across the previous seven decades of polls"
So throttling religious reinforcement resources to girls and upping the ones that lead boys to stay on the derech might be the only way to go.
My personal belief is that while boys' and girls' frum foundations have the same amount of logical wobbliness, boys might feel more confident to challenge the norms of their upbringing, family and community pressure.

Anonymous said...

As always, ProfK provides an interesting and useful perspective. One had to wonder if some of the single women had a hard time finding a shidduch because their parents weren't willing or able to support a son-in-law while he sat and learned or tried to figure out how to earn a living or weren't willing and able to buy a house or rent an apartment, etc, for married children.

Men not being expected to be bread winners upon marriage is a huge generational change, and I expect that plays some role in any marriage gap between men and women. My mother loved telling the story of how my father proposed. They met while he was finishing grad school. He proposed several months later by saying "I just got a job. Now we can get married."

Orthonomics said...

Love that story anonymous!

Avi Greengart said...

What, nobody is advancing the "men are pigs" theory? Fine, I will. Part of the shidduch crisis is due to men expecting women to look like Charlize Theron. (It's worth pointing out that not this is not a realistic beauty standard for Swedes to have, let alone Ashkenazic or Sephardic Jews. If we could just get our men to focus on Natalie Portman, half the shidduch problem would be resolved!)

Anonymous said...

I love the story too. But let's be a little realistic. The ulterior motives of wanting to know how someone is making a living is not always so altruistic. Sometimes it's about prestige and I would imagine that today's prestige has just become 'marrying the guy who is sitting and learning' instead of the doctor, lawyer, etc. The problems are always going to be there - they just change a little from generation to generation.

mother in israel said...

From what I have read there is a big problem with off-the-derech girls. Don't know statistics, I imagine there are more boys but have heard of enough cases of girls to know this is a major issue. The Observer article from a few years ago brought it up.

Anonymous said...

Just maybe, the shidduch crisis is not as big of a deal as people think? Back in 2001 (before 9/11), there were a few shark attacks that received widespread media attention. From that coverage, you would have thought sharks were attacking swimmers left and right (It was a shark crisis). I know girls who I would say are "too picky", and I know boys who I would say are "too picky", and concern about prestige and what others think isn't helping; but none of this makes it a real crisis.

ProfK said...

If you do want to look at the statistics then you need to correct your statement about there being more males than females worldwide. IF there are more males worldwide, some of that might be because of the practice in places with huge populations (think Asian nations) of aborting female fetuses in favor of the birth of a boy. Also, in many parts of the world infant girls are not accorded the same level of health care and nurturing as infant boys are given, so that less females survive to adulthood.

HOWEVER, in the US the figures, gathered by the US Census Bureau and other government agencies, show that our population skews 51% females to 49% males. They also tell you in these government reports that you must look at the demographics if you're going to look at the figures. The 51-49 division does not hold true across the board when you factor in different parts of the country, different populations within a geographic area, and when you look at these various areas divided year by year of birth.

The only reports done on the Jewish population that might have shown us anything were a couple of studies on the number of students registered in schools of Jewish learning, and that report did not divide its figures by male/females within the schools. It also covered all Jews, not just the frum ones who are saying there is a crisis now.

In short, we have no firm idea, none whatsoever, as to how many boys/girls there are within any given age range for the frum population. Further complicating this is that we really have no idea of how the various sub-groups of the frum population divide as to male/female concentrations. How many MO male/females are there? Chasidishe? Litvish/yeshivish? Ashkenazi/Sefardi? And there are other groups and sub-divisions within the groups. How many males/females for each year of birth across these sub-groups? What percentage of intermarriage is there between these sub-groupings? (That is, if there is an inbalance between males and females for any given age grouping within one of the sub-groups, will members of that age group be encouraged/allowed to marry into a different sub-grouping. Or is the insistence that members of a sub-group marry only each other, even if there is a male/female inbalance that will leave some members unmarried?)

In 2007 there was a huge discussion about what some considered the "10%" problem--10% more girls than boys, although there were no true figures to back up the contention. If you're interested in some links, send me an email.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much of the "crisis" is a matter of perception. It may be that it only appears that there are are many more women having problems finding shidduchs than men are. Little girls are brought up to believe that their sole, or almost sole, goal in life is to be a wife and mother. Women's role in judaism is wife and mother. Little girls play dress up as Kallahs and dream about their weddings. Little boys don't play dress up as chossons and dream of what their suit will look like. There is no role in the synagogue, the yeshiva, the clergy, etc. for woman. Men can achieve status and occupy their time with learning and busying themselves with spending time in shul. When women get together with other women, the talk is all about babies, husbands and cooking and the married woman's children are usually present, underscoring the absence for those who are not wives and mothers. When men get together, such as in shul or study hall or whatever, its much less likely for children to be present and the talk is much less likely to be about children and home life, making it much easier to be a single man than a single woman.

Therefore, for a frum woman not to achieve the status of wife and achieve it quickly is a disaster for many of them. In contrast, men have plenty of other roles, so delaying (or never) being a husband and father, may not be such a problem for some men. Therefore we hear a lot about women lamenting their single status, while we don't hear nearly as much about men complaining.
That could lead to the perception that the problem in finding a shidduch is much greater for women than for men.

Abacaxi Mamao said...

This is not only a problem in the frummy yeshivish world. It is also clearly a problem in the Modern Orthodox world. I know far more single women than single men, especially in the 30+ age range, and far more of those single women wish to marry and have children than their male peers.

I do think that there is something to the theory of more men going off the derech, and more men marrying less-traditionally-observant women. I know a number of men, raised Orthodox, who married Conservative women, and a number of men, raised Conservative, who married Reform or unaffiliated women. I don't know what to make of this, since as an Orthodox-raised, still-observant woman, I am neither willing to marry a yeshivish man who is unlikely to share my feminist convictions and interest in science (even if he were willing to marry me), nor to marry a man who does not observe Shabbat and kashrut in a fairly traditional manner. (I date someone who was to the right of me, sociologically, and found him to be racist, sexist, and homophobic. Not an experience I wish to repeat!)

I also think that there is some kind of education gap going on. I am not super-over-educated. I just had a BA. It happens to be from a good university, and I happen to have progressed in my career somewhat, and I've been set up with men who do not have BAs (and are over the age of 30, and often still live at home with their parents) several times. I don't need a man to "support me," but I need a man who can at least support himself and have some pretense of ambition. Just a little!

Re. birth rate: I believe that there are about 51% male births and 49% female births, but that these numbers even out over time, so that in the general, overall population it is about 50-50, since men die more in accidents, of disease, and in war and at a younger age.

Miami Al said...

Community needs to adapt. It's funny, but in the secular Jewish world, I see plenty of Jewish women that are/were somewhat involved married to non-Jews figuring it doesn't matter, there kids are Jewish, so the spouse may or may not have a quickie conversion, who cares.

The fact is, there is a shortage of Jewish men that are interested in marrying Jewish women, leaving a surplus of Jewish women out there. Those interested in marrying a Jew are going to Chabad/Aish events, and may even meet a semi-observant or observant man. So if a woman with a strong Jewish identity falls for a MO man, what's the harm for her?

Most of the women in my neighborhood weren't religious growing up, their husbands were or became interested, so they keep a Kosher home and Shabbat.

Doesn't really matter, if the Frumy sub-groups keep in-marrying within their subgroup, they'll just get wiped out economically by lots of birth defects and other problems associated with a small gene pool takes their toll and we won't have to hear about them or read about them anymore.

aaron from L.A. said...

I think a yeshivish-type girl without money is more willing to marry a a kollel boy than the other way around.That's where the shidduch crisis lies,friends.Furthermore, the rebbeim are part and parcel of the problem by encouraging their talmidim to hold out for dough.You know it and I know it.

Anonymous said...

There are roughly equal numbers of boys/girls born.
Clearly, more boys go OTD, more women join as BTs. Also, every severe pyschological disorder and syndrome (except depression and eating disorders) are highly skewed to male - autism is about 3:1 male to female. So many more males are out of the "shidduch pool." Also, males engage in risky behaviors - drinking, crime, speeding, guns - even among the religious, more boys will be killed or go to jail compared to females (3 boys are in prison in Japan for drug smuggling, not 3 girls, right?) and in Israel, most soldiers killed are men, right? So you have a natural explanation for less males even if people married close to their age. The gap is made worse by males marrying younger females. And if it is not a crisis, why is it that in my husband's high school class, one guy is single (and he keeps Shabbat but is considered sort of OTD) - yes one, and I identified the fact that he is out of the yeshivish pool - and in my high school class (we both graduated the same year in different communities) there are 3 single women? (We're talking about people in their mid-30s.) And why when I was a kid, I knew 2 women over 40 who had never married, and I currently know about 10?
I think most people do get married, but some people don't know how, and instead of fixing them up or paying people to set them up, we should give psychological counseling.

Miami Al said...

Stopping men from dating younger women will make it worse. Between female biased birth rates, male death/jail/autism/etc rates (probably skews thing by 1% or so), and time in the dating pool (men can be fine with a first marriage at 35 or 40, not so women), there is probably an issue.

If you have more women in the marriage market than men, then the laws of supply and demand will result in picky men and out in the cold women. There isn't a crisis, because men that want to marry are able to do so. There is a SINGLE WOMAN crisis, and that's very different.

The only way to equilibriate this is to either rebalance the men/women (kick women out, stop Kiruv to women, focus on retaining men, etc), to to increase the wives:men factor. Since society and 1000 years of Ashkenazi tradition discourages plural marriage, you are talking about serial marriages. Essentially, if a woman is married and has children and divorced, community resources should keep her stable, not try to remarry her, so he ex-husband can take a nice 24-27 year old woman off the market.

Whining, complaining, and bludgeoning won't help, if you get more men (or less women) in the marriage market, it'll work itself out, basic economics. Otherwise you are looking at extreme options like concubinage to soak up the remaining women as second wives, and situation I think that most would find repugnant, or encouraging single women to leave the community. Perhaps like immigrants that come to the US and send money home, they should nanny out to MO families and send money back to support the non-working husbands of their married sisters?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this age/marriage gap is unique to the OJ world. I strongly suspect it is not and that throughout different areas of American society, that once a certain age is reached, it is harder for a woman than a man to find a spouse. The only potential difference is that the age where the gap starts to create a problem is younger for the OJ world due to marrying young and the notion that a woman is over the hill by 22 or 23.

Anonymous said...

The amount written and the publicity given to the "shidduch crisis" has led to the divorce crisis. By publicizing the wide availability of still young women who are considered over the hill for frum marriage purposes, the many dissatisfied middle aged men see an opportunity. Men in their 40's and 50's with many children and an inconvenient middle aged wife realize they can fairly easily "get" divorced and remarry a much younger, but desperate, 30 year old without children. This they do, with alacrity. By writing and bemoaning the shidduch crisis for girls, you are giving ideas to men who can abandon wives who have given faithful years of service, cause their children to suffer the difficulties of divorce, cause the schools to suffer as the husbands often cannot support both old family and new. The social ills of publicizing the shidduch crisis outweigh any benefits. It is idle venting that has led to much mischief.

sapkan said...

I think you make a good point. I know some "older" frum females that are quite intimidating to date for their male peers because they are very accomplished academically as well as in Torah learning.

October 01, 2009 1:59 PM
SephardiLady said...

true, but to those men willing to date them, those women will not date them!

sapkan said...

October 01, 2009 1:59 PM
SephardiLady said...
"Additionally, I did want to add that another issue I believe exists is that there are more men who are "confirmed bachelors" than women. I know plenty of never marriaged older men who simply don't seem that interested in marriage. I can't think of any woman that is "confirmed" in her singlehood."

NOT true -- there are PLENTY of women (granted, many divorced) that are not interested in getting married (again). (Interesting givewaway -- doesnt work all the time, and not all thise who do are not willing to date, but a good rule of thumb -- they cut their hair very short).

look around in your shul -- i did, and found several.

other such examples -- several divorced male friends of mine who'se ex'es never / not interested in remarrying, etc

mother in israel said...

Not strictly relevant but My friend runs a "restaurant" that gives discounted meals for seniors. One widower asks everyone to help him find a shidduch. He told me that many widows/divorcees are not interested in marrying again, because they were not treated well by their first husbands.

ora said...

I agree with Miami Al re: men marrying less observant women. It seems to me (from my very very non-scientific "research" of looking around at random) that men who aren't frum are more likely than non-frum women to "marry out," men who are somewhat frum are more likely to marry women who are not frum than vice versa. And as previous posters said, there are more women coming in and more men going out.

I don't think the solution is to deliberately keep women out, of course, but maybe (IF it can be proven that there really are more religious women than men) we should figure out why frum life appeals less to men (and here I thought it was supposedly sexist in men's favor? maybe they didn't get the memo).

It could also be that women who don't marry are more likely to stay frum than men who don't marry. So for example, if 10 young frum women and 10 young frum men don't get married in their 20s, and in 10 years they're all still single but now only 5 of the women and 2 of the men are still frum, suddenly you have twice as many single frum women than men in that age category. Voila, crisis.

I haven't necessarily seen that to be the case, it's just an idea.

I don't really buy the demographics theory. It seems like if the issue were birthrate, there'd be a huge "shidduch crisis" here in Israel, where birthrates are even higher, but over here I've never heard the term (not that there are no older singles, but they're seen as just that - people who happen to be single at an age when most of their peers are married, not signs of a crisis). It seems like Israeli chassidim (with their high birthrates) are fine shidduch-wise, while (again according to my "research") it's davka those in more "modern" communities who have trouble finding a spouse (particularly, women have trouble finding a husband). Even though in our communities it's much more common for a woman to marry a man who's younger than she is.

sapkan said...

the husband can theoretically be non observant in a marriage, but a wife must keep "taharat hamishpacha", keep the kitchen kosher, etc.

i have a cousin (woman) who has such a marriage. the husband is traditional, so he makes kiddush every shabat, then turns on the tv. the children may or may not comnnfused, but they are now (relatively) observant.

Orthonomics said...

throughout different areas of American society, that once a certain age is reached, it is harder for a woman than a man to find a spouse.

I had to return a book to the library that dealt with exactly this subject and can no longer remember the name. It had some very interesting demographic research on marriage.

Bob Miller said...

As a working theory, this age gap idea makes sense, but is unverifiable. Nevertheless, it can be tested in a sense. To do this, the communities should act as if the age gap really is the cause. If their actions then relieve the crisis to a large degree, we'll have at least some reason to believe in the theory. If not, it'll be time to try Plans B, C,...

rosie said...

I think that most men regardless of their own age would find that a more mature woman, aged 22 or up would be a better choice. Frum girls used to be ready for marriage at 18 or 19 but now they are just big babies and need to grow up. They can use that time to get their degrees.

Miami Al said...

Bob, kind of hard to test a theory in a world where once something is done it's declared a holy Minhag and any change is seen as apostasy... and changing back to how things were "5 years ago" is seen as impossible because "the world has changed."

kurkevan said...

OK, if you're looking for hard numbers, here's a post about it:

Granted, it is far from a demographic study, and it is specific to a single geographic region in Israel. But it indisputably shows that the gender disparity is a major issue.

Orthonomics said...

kurkevan-A single hospital does not a demographic study make. I can't drawn any conclusions from the news that this hospital is showing an increase in chareidi births.

kurkevan said...

Would you be able to draw conclusions if it could be shown that this is the trend in *all* chareidi areas?

Orthonomics said...

A study showing a continual upwards trend over a number of years, as opposed to a baby boom, might have me more interested. But, the subject at hand is adults, not babies.

Additionally, I haven't heard that there is a shidduch crisis in Bnei Brak. So stats from areas where there is a shidduch crisis would of course be more relevant.

rosie said...

You have a point SL because in those chassidishe groups in the US and Canada that marry off kids super young and the parents have all the control have no shidduch crisis. That does not mean that all the marriages that result are happy, but if simply getting married is the goal, they manage to achieve it. Usually in those groups, there are few individuals over 21 who have never been married.

kurkevan said...

Latest news regarding Lakewood (from APP, via YWN):

For every 1,000 people there were more than 44 births in 2005, which is the latest state data available. The birth rate is about four times the state average, and it is the highest birthrate in the Garden State. The births added more than 2,000 people to the town in 2005.

Orthonomics said...

kurkevan-There was a series of articles in the Yated about a year or 2 ago decrying Brooklyn loosing population to Lakewood. Once again, one city does not a demographic study make.

kurkevan said...

That quote pertains specifically to birth rate, not total population. It doesn't make a difference where the people are coming from, the bottom line is that they are multiplying 4x faster than the average family in New Jersey. Even without these numbers, the relatively large size of the typical charedi family should be fairly obvious.

Related item: Can you guess how many descendants R' Elyashiv (לרפואה שלימה) has? See

Anonymous said...

Just a thought- not that I agree with the interesting math... But perhaps even though more males are born than females, males tend to have more mental/developmental disorders.

Can't quote a source, though.

Anonymous said...

There is no need for an "actual demographic study" The statistics are quite apparent. The average yeshivish family has upward of 6 children (bli ayin hora). That means the population is tripling (2 parents to 6 children in 25 to 30 years) A tripling of the population or even doubling in one generation suggests an average annual growth rate of 2-5%.