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Washington, D.C.’s Jewish population now matches Chicago’s, study finds

Janet Krasner Aronson, associate director of the Maurice & Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, one of the authors of a study that estimates the Jewish population in Washington, D.C., and its suburbs has matched Chicago's. | Brandeis University

The Chicago area is home to a sizable Jewish population, long considered the third-largest in the United States behind New York and Los Angeles. But a new survey suggests that the Washington, D.C., metro region may have matched Chicago.

The study by researchers at Brandeis University’s Maurice & Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies estimates that about 296,000 Jews live in Washington and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs.

The last tally done for the Chicago area — in 2010 — estimated the Jewish population at about 292,000.

There’s some wiggle room in these kinds of surveys, so the two figures are, statistically speaking, in the same ballpark.

The number of Jews in the Chicago area appears to be rising, according to Chicago’s Jewish United Fund, which plans a new survey in 2020.

A separate study estimated that the number of Jews in Illinois rose about 5 percent, by nearly 14,000 people, from 1971 to 2016.

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