New Study Shows Jewish Observance Costs $18,500 Annually in Extra Expenses
Observant Jews in Britain have to spend close to $18,500 a year in extra expenses to maintain their Jewish lifestyles, according to a new study released on Thursday.
Andrea Silberman, an economist at the UK’s Treasury, and Ernst and Young consultant Anthony Tricot conducted research that shows the hefty costs associated with buying kosher food, living in Jewish neighborhoods, synagogue membership and private school tuition. In total, they found that a committed Jewish lifestyle can cost up to £12,700 per family, the equivalent of nearly $18,500.
The most significant extra expense for Jewish families is for property, according to the study. They will likely pay a little over $8,500 per year more for their home than the average non-Jewish family. The study says that one fifth of Britain’s Jews are concentrated in the north London borough of Barnet, where property prices are 157 percent higher than average prices for England and Wales.
The second biggest expense for Jewish families is tuition at Jewish schools, which, according to the study, charge an annual premium of up to $2,900 per child “to reflect the cost of additional religious education.”
The study also found that kosher meat is, on average, double the price of non-kosher meat and families dining at kosher restaurants will pay 70 percent more than those eating at other restaurants. According to the study, dining out costs Jewish families an additional $2,100 per year.
Synagogue membership costs between between $870-$1160 per household due in part of to the Jewish requirements for burial, which are three times more expensive than cremation. Observing Jewish lifecycle events adds an additional $1,600 per year for Jewish families.
“Simchahs are a further significant cost, driven by the need to ‘keep up with the Cohens,'” researchers explained. “The average Jewish wedding was reported this year to cost £55,000 (an estimated $80,000) compared to a UK average of under half that amount, while bar and bat mitzvahs represent a significant additional cost that is specific to the Jewish community.”
Other costs not taken into account by the study include gap year visits to Israel, and kosher Passover holidays.
The study also noted that average earnings for Jewish households in the UK are roughly 54 percent higher than the UK average. A Jewish dual income household earns $34,200 more than the UK average, based on analysis of UK national statistics.