Sunday, March 01, 2009

JES Fact Sheet

A few interesting tidbits from the Jewish Economic Survey so far:
  • 45.3% of respondents rent their place of residence.
  • 56% of the people living within the NY-NJ area rent their place of residence.
  • 73% of the people living outside of NY-NJ (but within the United States) own their place of residence.
  • While just 6% do not have health insurance, over 40% of respondents do not have life insurance.
  • 74% of the respondents to the open-ended question “What do you think is/are the most important financial issue(s) facing the Orthodox Jewish Community?” included Tuition or something similar to tuition in their answer.
  • The average 1-bedroom apartment in the NY-NJ area goes for $1,111. The average rent married couples in the NY-NJ area pay for a 2-bedroom apartment is about $1,200 a month.
  • 2-bedroom apartments in Baltimore are rented at an average of $910/month. A 3-bedroom apartment increases the costs to $978/month.
  • The average mortgage for most married couples who own their residence in Baltimore is $1,469 a month – and they live in a 4-bedroom house.
  • In the Midwest (including people from MI, MO, OH, and WI; excluding Chicago, IL), the average respondent’s family lives in a 4-bedroom house and pays a mortgage of $1,187/month.
There's plenty of other data coming out of the survey, but the sample sizes are too small for most categories to feel comfortable enough to even mention them. Housing is an area which is easier to get a handle on more quickly, as a 2-bedroom apartment is a 2-bedroom apartment no matter how many people are stuffed into it. Life insurance you either have or you don't. But food costs are obviously greater even among otherwise similar families if one family has an additional child.

Of the statistics listed above, the biggest surprise is the cost of two-bedroom apartments in NY-NJ; apartments in Queens are far more expensive than that. On the other hand, people have who lived in apartments that size for 5 years or more would be paying much less than that amount, as prices started climbing fast right around the time we got married. In addition, apartments in Kew Gardens, Teaneck, and Passaic seem to be somewhat cheaper than Kew Gardens Hills or Washington Heights. In addition, while it was expected that a higher percentage of people in the NY-NJ would be renting as compared to everywhere else, the gap (44% ownership in NY-NJ vs. 73% elsewhere) is much larger than many people might have expected - and it's not as if the respondents are all young couples, either. 56% of the responses to date have been by people at least 30 years old, 21% from people 40 or more.

The lack of life insurance is a bit of a surprise. While one could argue that singles or even married couples with no children have less of a need for life insurance [and in fact, less than 5% of childless singles and 29% of childless couples have life insurance], the percentage of people with children who have no life insurance is over 23%.

If you haven't yet taken the survey, please do! The more people that take it, the better and more useful the data will be. And pass it along. :)


  1. It seems like the survey results are skewed toward the younger population. Are more young people responding?

  2. Re the life insurance question, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the question ask if the respondent had life insurance excluding that provided by an employer? If so, that would mean that some of the respondents who answered NO for life insurance actually might have some that is employer provided or co-purchased through a work plan.

    Re the cost for 1-2 bedroom apartment rentals in the NY area, some of those cost-to-bedroom figures are a bit deceptive. I asked a few people who are renting what their square footage was in their apartments. There is a wide divergence in the NY area. I found, for the same general price a 550 sq.foot one bedroom, a 620 sq. foot two bedroom, a 670 square foot one bedroom, a 680 square foot two bedroom and a 712 square foot two bedroom. Interestingly enough they were all in the same general price range,plus or minus $100-$200, except the 620 square foot two bedroom was the most expensive, being in an area that charges higher rents. The 550 sq. foot cost $50 a month more than the 712 sq. foot 2 bedroom, again in a higher priced area. So it's not just how much you are paying per month in rent but what you are getting for it. A question: how are you going to factor in places like Manhattan and Forest Hills where rental prices seem to be the sky is the limit?

  3. i echo the above commenter without getting into actual square footage. yes, a 2 bedroom apt in WH goes for much more than 1200- i have been in mine for 5 years and pay almost 300 more than that and among my chevrah i get off easy. i think the apartments in WH (maybe KGH- not as familiar)are more livable 4-7 years into a a marriage when you have 2-3 kids (IYH by the grace of HKBH) as opposed to teaneck apartments which are tiny. so yes, the $1200 is deceptive.

  4. Anon - Not particularly skewed, considering I'm 25 and a high percentage of readers are 20-35. As of Thursday, if you're curious:

    16% 18-24
    28% 25-29
    22% 30-34
    12% 35-39
    16% 40-49
    5% 50-59
    1% 60+

    I think that's to be expected; the older you get, the less this affects you (unless you're chipping in toward your children's adult lives).

  5. ProfK - The Q asked: "Do you have life insurance? [Do not include from work if it is only one year's salary.]" The life insurance people buy is typically far more than what employers provide.

    And granted on apartment sizes, but a) there's no way most people know the square footage of their homes or especially apartments; b) there are far too many factors involved to take all into account; c) asking more detailed questions would drive people off the survey; and d) people can typically differentiate in their mind between different areas. The further people get from NY, the bigger even the same type of apartments are. Moreover, the important focus here is the cost, not the quality; quality is a factor to be discussed later, but it's far less quantifiable, certainly for the average person.

    NYF - Agreed. Our friends in a 2-BR apartment in Teaneck would barely be able to live there with 1 kid, let alone 2; we have two here, and could squeeze a third baby if we absolutely had to. At this point, the data was far more comfortable with the entire NY-NJ combined, which is why I noted those areas bringing it down; as more data comes in, I'm hoping to separate out every community separately.

    If you're curious as of now, it's showing up as an average of $1350 in KGH and $1230 in WashHts for 2-bedroom apartments. Still on the low side as compared to reality, I think, and I'm sure that will rise as more data as gathered.

  6. Interesting stuff. Please keep up posted further.

  7. Our apartment square footage is 933.