Frumstats – 2005

A little over a year ago, I wrote the entry “Frumstats” in which I used the popular Jewish dating site Frumster to conduct socio-demographic research on the Jewish dating population. In that post I focused on the percentages of divorcees in the dating pool for two reasons. First, data on Jewish divorce rates can be hard to come by, but with dating sites like Frumster, the users themselves enter in their personal data thus making otherwise unattainable information available. Secondly, Frumster is after all a dating site so its usefulness for complete demographic studies is understandably limited.

I reran those searches from a year ago and conducted a few others as well. Again, the same disclaimers from last year apply. First this data must be taken in its context. Frumster represents only a small cross-section of the dating pool and an even smaller sample of the larger Jewish community.

However, even with these disclaimers some results are in my opinion significant enough to make people notice some of the ramifications of the modern day shidduch system.

Queries were run on 12/28/2005, and people may have been subsequently added or removed. Thanks again to Meredith Scheck for loaning her account for the men’s searches searches.

The Big Picture

Let’s start off by comparing the general numbers from last year to this year.

Total Divorcee Numbers for Frumster Members 18-30 (2004)

Total Members Total Divorced With Children Without Children
Men 3096 (54.05%) 123 (3.97%) 84 (2.71%) 39 (1.25%)
Women 2632 (45.95%) 127 (4.82%) 59 (2.24%) 68 (2.58%)
Total 5728 250 (4.73%) 143 (2.70%) 107 (2.02%)
Total Divorcee Numbers for Frumster Members 18-30 (2005)

Total Members Total Divorced With Children Without Children
Men 3100 (48.00%) 111 (3.58%) 39 (1.25%) 72 (2.32%)
Women 3357 (51.99%) 163 (4.85%) 86 (2.56%) 77 (2.29%)
Total 6457 274 (4.24%) 125 (1.93%) 149 (2.30%)

In the past year, the overal membership of Frumster has increased by 729 people for 12.72%. In that same time span, there was a net gain of 24 divorcees or a 9.60% increase.

Where there was a net gain of only 4 men on the site, but the number of women increased by 725 – a 27.54% increase. In terms of divorcees, there was a decrease among the men of 12 people or 9.75%, but on the women’s side, there was a net increase of 26 divorcees or 28.34%. While there was a gain of 9 women divorced without children (13.23% increase), for divorcees with at least one child there was a gain of 27 people, an alarming increase of 45.76%.

The overall percentage of the men 18-30 who are divorced decreased, and of those divorced fewer have children. While the percentage of women on the site who are divorced has basically stayed the same, there seems to be a shift in that a higher percentage have children.

Breakdown By Region

As with last years numbers, most of the Frumster members come from the United States and specifically the New York / New Jersey region.

Women 18-30

Total Members Total Divorced With Children Without Children
United States 2594 (77.2%) 125 (4.8%) 57 (2.1%) 68 (2.6%)
Israel 232 (6.9%) 10 (4.31%) 6 (2.58%) 4 (1.72%)
United Kingdom 215 (6.4%) 13 (6.04%) 8 (3.72%) 5 (2.32%)
Canada 171 (5.0%) 8 (4.67%) 1 (0.58%) 7 (4.90%)
NY / NJ 1748 (52.0%) 87 (4.97%) 40 (2.28%) 47 (2.68%)
Worldwide Total 3357 163 (4.8%) 86 (2.5%) 77 (2.2%)
Men 18-30

Total Members Total Divorced With Children Without Children
United States 2411 (77.77%) 89 (3.69%) 31 (1.28%) 58 (2.40%)
Israel 216 (6.96%) 10 (4.62%) 5 (2.31%) 5 (2.31%)
United Kingdom 181 (5.83%) 7 (3.86%) 1 (0.55%) 6 (3.31%)
Canada 145 (4.67%) 2 (1.37%) 1 (0.68%) 1 (0.68%)
NY / NJ 1733 (55.90%) 71 (4.09%) 23 (1.32%) 48 (2.76%)
Worldwide Total 3100 111 (3.58%) 39 (1.25%) 72 (2.32%)

I don’t have time to do a detailed analysis, but compared to last year’s numbers I am not noticing any major changes.

Based on some conversations and experiences I’ve had in the past year, I decided to run additional searches narrowing the age to 18-25. You’ll forgive me for not having the time to calculate all the percentages.

Women 18-25

Total Divorced With Children Without Children
United States 1537 29 11 18
Israel 120 1 0 1
United Kingdom 122 3 1 2
Canada 109 6 0 6
NY / NJ 1028 22 13 9
Worldwide Total 1977 41 20 21
Men 18-25

Total Divorced With Children Without Children
United States 1287 8 2 6
Israel 104 3 1 2
United Kingdom 99 0 0 0
Canada 81 1 0 1
NY / NJ 895 7 2 5
Worldwide Total 1634 13 3 10

In this age group, divorced women outnumber the men 41 to 13 and in percentage of age group 2.07% to 0.79%. When you compare these tables, the most noticable group is women in the NY / NJ region.1 25.28% of the divorcees 18-30 are 25 and under – slightly higher than the worldwide average. However a whopping 59.09% of those divorced 25 and under have at least one child.

For the men, only about 11% of the divorcees are under 25 and less than 10% have children. This discrepancy between the men and the women in this age group can be explained by a tendency for men to get married at a later age than women.

By Religious Classification

The other major addition in this year’s overview is that I also searched worldwide by religious classification. Frumster acknowledges that the labels are inexact and subject to personal interpretation, but for our purposes, the self-identificaiton will suffice.

Women 18-30 By Religious Classification

Total Divorced With Children Without Children
Traditional / Non Orthodox 506 13 9 4
Modern Orthodox – Liberal 1005 41 27 14
Modern Orthodox – Machmir 1038 58 25 33
Yeshivish Modern 210 23 11 12
Black Hat 300 11 6 5
Hassidish 106 8 7 1
Carlebachian 26 2 1 1
Sephardic Traditional 40 1 0 1
Shomer Mitzvot 126 6 3 3
Total 3357 163 89 74
Men 18-30 By Religious Classification

Note that “Traditional / Non Orthodox” is not an option for men.

Total Divorced With Children Without Children
Traditional / Non Orthodox N/A N/A N/A N/A
Modern Orthodox – Liberal 1094 24 7 17
Modern Orthodox – Machmir 965 28 7 21
Yeshivish Modern 200 5 3 2
Black Hat 321 20 9 11
Hassidish 247 22 7 15
Carlebachian 56 4 2 2
Sephardic Traditional 67 1 0 1
Shomer Mitzvot 150 7 4 3
Total 3100 111 39 72

Here, the disproportionate groups are Yeshivish Modern Women with a 10.95% divorce percentage and Hassidish Men with 8.90%. Let’s see how things work out for the 18-25 range:

Women 18-25 By Religious Classification

Total Divorced With Children Without Children
Traditional / Non Orthodox 279 3 2 1
Modern Orthodox – Liberal 547 7 3 4
Modern Orthodox – Machmir 645 18 7 11
Yeshivish Modern 132 4 3 1
Black Hat 207 5 2 3
Hassidish 66 1 1 0
Carlebachian 16 1 1 0
Sephardic Traditional 21 1 0 1
Shomer Mitzvot 64 1 1 0
Total 1977 41 20 21
Men 18-25 By Religious Classification

Note that “Traditional / Non Orthodox” is not an option for men.

Total Divorced With Children Without Children
Traditional / Non Orthodox N/A N/A N/A N/A
Modern Orthodox – Liberal 552 3 1 2
Modern Orthodox – Machmir 519 4 1 3
Yeshivish Modern 111 0 0 0
Black Hat 187 3 0 3
Hassidish 131 3 1 2
Carlebachian 28 0 0 0
Sephardic Traditional 36 0 0 0
Shomer Mitzvot 70 0 0 0
Total 1634 13 3 10

Considering we’re only dealing with 13 people, I’m not sure how much we can read into these numbers for the men. For women in the 18-25 age group there is little proportional difference between the Modern Orthodox Machmir at 2.79% and the Yeshivish Modern at 3.03%.

Some Observations

Assuming for a moment that these numbers are meaningful, the greatest area of concern is for Yeshivish Modern women 18-30, Yeshivish Modern women 18-25, and Modern Orthodox Machmir women 18-25. Not only do they have seemingly higher percentage of divorce, but those divorced are nearly 50% with children.

I have a few suggestions as to why these numbers are so high. First is that women in these groups tend to marry younger than the men, thus increasing the possiblity of divorce in this age group.

Second, these groups may be disproportionately represented on the Frumster site. Consider that the more machmir may initially chose to go through a matchmaker and possibly use the internet less often in general. However, I would also assume that the fact that someone is divorced would hurt ones chances in the shidduch world and so this website could be a more plausible alternative.

Finally, there is of course the issue of social pressure both for getting married as early as possible as well as the expectation of starting a family immediately. The fact that 59.09% of those divorced 25 and under have at least one child is frightening. While there could be any number of reasons why somoene gets divorced, when someone is divorced by 25 maturity – or lack thereof – is probably a factor. Yes, it works for many people, but obviously not everyone at that age knows what they’re getting to in a marraige let alone having children.2

Again all this assumes that these numbers are in fact meaningful. The numbers on Frumster may not be indicative of the larger Jewish population and potentially misleading. Furtheremore, these numbers may not even be considered all that useful. I would think information would be how many marrages in these communities end in divorce and the average length of those marraiges would be considerable more valuable. Of course those numbers would be incredibly hard to come by, if not imposssible.

At any rate, if you’ve found this stuff interesting or informative, please let me know. It does take some time putting all of this together and I’d like to know if it’s really worth it in the future.

1. Canada has a higer percentage – 6 of 8 or 75% – but that sample seems to be too low to be significant. Also, none of those divorced have children.
2. I am not going to get into a discussion of the halakhot of birth-control. However, even those who may be against it

Posted in Jewish Dating.
  • Shana

    Well Josh, I have always found these kind of things interesting.
    According to this, Do i have a need to be worried, I am not sure if my future will brighten or become grim.
    all I know, is despite the pressure to transfer colleges in order to have more dates and to have more fun with jewish people, I am happy where I am and glad that I am in a community that is not pressuring me to be among the first to get engaged (The first two of my aquiantances have, I wonder now from these statistics, however unscientific they are, how long either match will last, especially the american one.)
    BTW, would this be more complete if you got the statistics from Dosidate and SawYouAtSinai?
    Especially for Docidate, since although they now allow Americans, it is the signifigant site for Israelis?

  • ALG

    I find this to be mildly interesting, but I’m not sure how statistically significant it is for the overall American observant population, since the sample size is only 6457 and is clearly very self-selective. At the most, it tells you something about the Jews who use Frumster, which is not a primary interest of mine.
    What I want to know is why Traditional/Non-Orthodox is not an option for men but is for women. I find that to be kind of strange, don’t you?

  • Hillel

    Interesting, but I’m not even sure this tells you much about the Frumster population, much less the Jewish population as a whole. After all, these data don’t tell you how many people on Frumster ARE divorced, just how many will admit to it up front. It seems logical that at least some people won’t reveal that fact up front, but hope to forge a real bond with someone first before telling, rather than being judged by (arguably) external factors.

  • Zoe Strickman

    I found it very interesting. The whole time I was looking for my category. I’m not divorced, nor am I married, but I was wondering what percentage of people in my category of religious observance are divorced. This was a helpful and informative article.

  • Meredith

    All quite true, but, you can still take the stats as indicative of the ?known? dating population. While Josh?s data only reflects those Frumster members willing to acknowledge a prior marriage up front, the people who hide a divorce on Frumster are probably equally likely to hide it from a professional shadkhan (not infrequently with Rabbinic sanction). So while the data probably isn?t an accurate reflection of the actual percentage of divorcees in the frum dating population, it may well indicate, within a certain margin of error, the percentage of divorcees who are at least admitting it up front.

  • skbw

    yeah, what’s up with traditional/non-orthodox not being for men?!! Do tell.

  • Josh

    Shana – I don’t think you need to be worried. Your future is still in your hands. You’re completely right about dosidate for Israel, but not being an Israeli I can’t fill out a profile to create an account. Perhaps if I move to Israel single I’ll run the searches there.
    ALG / SKBW – I have no idea about that not being an option. It’s an interesting detail, but you’d have to ask Grayson Levy or whomever else is running the site.
    Zoe – Thanks!
    Meredith / Hillel – Both very interesting points. There was one girl I noticed who said she was divorced in the profile but not in the official status because she was only married for 3 weeks and didn’t consider it real. I’d think this sort of thing would be a rarity because of the Kohein factor. Even in shadchan situations I can’t imagine *any* rabbi who would allow that to slip when dealing with a Kohein.

  • Shana

    as of September, DosiDate has been taking non-Israelis.
    That would include you!
    So if you choosew to sign up, you could run the same statistics there…

  • Meredith

    Any chance of you pulling Saw You At Sinai strings to search their demographic?

  • Josh

    I suppose I could ask, but I doubt they’d go along with it.

  • Meredith

    You may boost the odds by agreeing not to publish the male:female ratio.