Downtown Detroit

The Contours of Our Jewish Community: Snapshots From the 2018 Population Study

Editor’s Note: Each week, the Jewish News will offer insights into the findings of the 2018 Detroit Jewish Population Study with the intent of stimulating discussion about its potential meaning and impact.

Growing job market.

Relatively low cost of living.

Inexpensive opportunities for home ownership.

Exceptional Jewish community programs, services and financial assistance.

Attractive region that includes a dynamic center city (Detroit), one of America’s great university towns (Ann Arbor), plenty of fresh water and the ability to visit a foreign country (Canada) and be home for dinner every evening.

With all we have going for us, why does the Detroit-area Jewish community continue to have a lagging record of in-migration (4 percent of our Jewish population said they moved here within the past five years, according to the 2018 Detroit Jewish Population Study)? That number was 3 percent in the 2005 population study.

Conversely, the 2018 study shows that 6 percent of our population will probably or definitely move out of the Detroit area in the coming three years. Despite the resurgence of the city of Detroit since the 2005 study, especially as a place for millennials, the trend of more people leaving than coming to the Detroit Jewish community has slowed but appears to be continuing.

In 2008, the small community of Dothan, Ala., advertised in the Jewish News to recruit young families to enjoy its (very small) Jewish infrastructure and receive an incentive grant from one of its family foundations. Nationally, several made the move.

Questions:

  • Does increasing in-migration matter? If so, why?
  • What more can we do to attract Jews from other parts of the country?
  • For those who do come, what can we do to be more welcoming — especially when so many of us (75 percent) have lived here our entire lives?

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