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A deep dive into the 2021 census produces some very surprising results:
The Jewish population of Winnipeg is – at a maximum: 14,270

By Bernie Bellan Elsewhere on this website you can read about some of my findings re the 2021 census as they relate to the Jewish community of Winnipeg. At the end of my report I wrote that I had sent an inquiry to statcan asking for more detailed information about how many individuals had reported “Jewish” as an ethnic origin and how many had reported “Jewish” as their religion.
No other group can be referred to both as a religious group and an ethnic group – which makes trying to parse the data from the census quite difficult when you’re trying to determine just how many Jews there are in Winnipeg.
And, to make it even more difficult to determine what figure to assign to the size of the Jewish population in Winnipeg, respondents to the 2021 census were able to give more than one answer to the question that asked about ethnic ancestry. Thus, when I tried to correlate respondents who said their religion was Jewish with their ethnic ancestry, it was impossible to do a direct correlation.
For instance, consider this: Of all Winnipeg respondents only 6,700 reported that both their ethnic origin and their religion was Jewish. Yet, 10,700 people in total reported that at least one of their ethnic origins was Jewish, while 11,170 reported their religion was Jewish.
So, if one were to subtract the number of people who said they were Jewish both according to ethnic ancestry and religion from the number who said they were Jewish by religion, you get a figure of 4,400. Add that figure to the number who said they were Jewish by religion and you get a figure of 15,570.
But, here’s where it gets really interesting. A very large number of individuals who said they had Jewish ethnic ancestry also said they belonged to different religions. Of the 10,700 individuals who gave Jewish as at least one of their ethnic origins, a full 1,245 said they were Christian by religion.
As well, there were 20 Muslims, 10 Bhuddists, and 35 others of different religions who also reported Jewish ancestry. So, if we subtract the total number of respondents to the census who reported religions other than Jewish (1350) from the figure of 15,570, the resulting figure is 14, 270. That is likely the number which give the best idea how many Jews there really are in Winnipeg.
Here’s something even more surprising: Of the 1350 individuals who gave “Israeli” as one of their ethnic origins, only 855 said their religion was Jewish. Of the remainder, 385 said they had no religion, while 105 said they were Christian.
Further, of the 10,770 individuals who said that at least one of their ethnic origins was Jewish, 2,775 said they had no religion.
When it came to looking at the ethnic backgrounds of individuals who said their religion was Jewish, there were also some surprising results. For instance, of the 11,170 individuals who reported their religion as Jewish, 180 gave at least one of their ethnic ancestries as North American Indigenous. (The census actually gave much more specific results for Indigenous respondents, breaking it down by group, e.g., Cree, Anishanabee, Saulteaux, etc.)
As far as what other ethnic origins were given by individuals who said their religion was Jewish, there was quite an extensive range, with the most common answer, after “Jewish”, being Russian, followed by Polish, British, Israeli, and Ukrainian.
In the next issue we’ll offer a more detailed analysis of what are the ethnic origins of all the respondents to the 2021 census who gave “Jewish” as their religion.
Does it really come as a surprise that Jewish identity would be so difficult to pin down in 2022? Following are some tables I’ve created from the data that was sent to me by statcan:

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