The Economics of Contemporary American Jewish Family Life

Peter Y. Medding

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: Volume XIV: Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century

Published in print May 1999 | ISBN: 9780195128208
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854592 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

The Economics of Contemporary American Jewish Family Life

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Although lagging behind the experience of Jewish men by some decades, the typical adult Jewish woman by 1990 was also a well-educated labor force participant, usually with some post-college training. Labor force participation rates of married Jewish women were high: in 1990, about 75 percent of those with no children at home were working, as were 75 percent of the married women with school-age children, and about half of those with very young (preschool) children. This chapter considers some of the most important implications for the American Jewish family of these changes in its economic context. Earnings from their professional occupations place American Jews, and by extension the American Jewish community, comfortably in the upper middle class. The implications of this environment for American Jews' consumption patterns, including investments related to family life in general and Jewish family life in particular, are first discussed. This is followed by analysis of the effect of economic incentives on marriage, fertility, and parenting, along with the consequences for American Jewish demographic patterns. The final section presents a brief summary of findings and some implications for the future of the American Jewish family.

Keywords: Jewish women; labor force; working women; American Jews; Jewish family; consumption

Chapter.  8564 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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