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Are Jewish Families Different? Some Evidence from the General Social Survey

Andrew Cherlin and Carin Celebuski
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 45, No. 4 (Nov., 1983), pp. 903-910
DOI: 10.2307/351803
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351803
Page Count: 8
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Are Jewish Families Different? Some Evidence from the General Social Survey
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Abstract

The 1972 through 1980 waves of the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey were pooled to examine the differences between Jewish and non-Jewish (i.e., Protestant and Catholic) family patterns in the United States. On general indicators of family-related attitudes and behaviors, such as marital happiness and social visits with relatives, there was little or no difference between Jews and non-Jews. Ever-married Jews were less likely to have divorced or separated, even with controls for social class and other potentially confounding factors. The completed family size of Jewish women was smaller than that of non-Jews, and Jewish parents placed a higher value on qualities of children associated with autonomy and self-direction. We conclude that, overall, the differences between Jewish and non-Jewish families are more modest than many previous writers have suggested. However, in the domain of childbearing and childrearings Jews do seem to be different; they tend to follow a strategy well suited to enhancing their children's social, economic, and intellectual achievements.

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