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Assessment of the 2021 Census data on Haredi (Strictly Orthodox) Jewish children in England

Data suggests Haredi children were undercounted in the Census by as much as 35%

Dr David Graham

In this report:

The UK Census takes place every ten years, and since 2001, it has included a question on religion. Census data are of particular value to community leaders and planners because they can provide a remarkably detailed and accurate view of the nation’s Jewish population and allow us both to monitor change over time and predict future trends.

With that in mind, this technical paper uncovers a clear discrepancy between the 2021 Census of England and Wales data and two other key sources: Haredi birth announcements obtained from Jewish community records and school census data published by the Department for Education (DfE), suggesting Haredi children were undercounted in the Census by as much as 35%.

Some of the key findings in the study:

  • The two independent data sources (DfE schools census and Haredi births) closely align with each other but differ substantially from the 2021 Census data;
  • The magnitude of the undercount decreases as the children’s age increases;
  • The lowest level of undercount was among haredi boys aged 5-10, where the 2021 Census captured 73% of the expected total based on DfE data;
  • The highest level of undercount was for children aged 0-5, where the Census captured 65% of the total expected based on haredi community announcements;
  • The undercount was greatest in Salford (~66%) and Hackney (~73%) and lowest in Gateshead (~85%).

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Dr David Graham

Senior Research Fellow

Dr David Graham

Senior Research Fellow

David is a Senior Research Fellow at JPR, an Honorary Associate at the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney...

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