Survey of Jewish college freshmen shows the inroads of intermarriage

Posted: Friday, August 02, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A survey of students entering college shows 92.6 percent of those with two Jewish parents identify as Jews but there's a notable drop-off if the parents are intermarried.

Among students with a Jewish mother and gentile father, 37.8 percent considered themselves Jewish, but only 15.3 percent when the father is Jewish and the mother gentile. Forty percent of students from mixed marriages listed no religious identification.

The data, for freshmen at 424 colleges in 1999, came from a standard annual survey administered by the University of California, Los Angeles. An estimated 85 percent of Jewish youths attend college.

The 8,252 students identifying themselves as Jewish were less active religiously than the 232,511 non-Jewish freshmen in terms of attendance at worship at services (13 percent vs. 47 percent), the UCLA study said. However, they discussed religion about as often as non-Jews.

On moral issues, Jews were notably more liberal than non-Jews in favoring legalized abortion (89 percent vs. 52 percent), legalized same-sex marriage (82 percent vs. 53 percent), sex for couples who've known each other a very short time (61 percent vs. 38 percent) and legalization of marijuana (50 percent vs. 32 percent).

The study was conducted by Linda J. Sax of UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute and sponsored by Washington-based Hillel, the Jewish campus organization

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