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 MembersTotal DivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
Men3096 (54.05%)123 (3.97%)84 (2.71%)39 (1.25%)
Women2632 (45.95%)127 (4.82%)59 (2.24%)68 (2.58%)
Total5728250 (4.73%)143 (2.70%)107 (2.02%)
Total Divorcee Numbers for Frumster Members 18-30 (2005)

Total MembersTotal DivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
Men3100 (48.00%)111 (3.58%)39 (1.25%)72 (2.32%)
Women3357 (51.99%)163 (4.85%)86 (2.56%)77 (2.29%)
Total6457274 (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 MembersTotal DivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
United States2594 (77.2%)125 (4.8%)57 (2.1%)68 (2.6%)
Israel232 (6.9%)10 (4.31%)6 (2.58%)4 (1.72%)
United Kingdom215 (6.4%)13 (6.04%)8 (3.72%)5 (2.32%)
Canada171 (5.0%)8 (4.67%)1 (0.58%)7 (4.90%)
NY / NJ1748 (52.0%)87 (4.97%)40 (2.28%)47 (2.68%)
Worldwide Total3357163 (4.8%)86 (2.5%)77 (2.2%)
Men 18-30

Total MembersTotal DivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
United States2411 (77.77%)89 (3.69%)31 (1.28%)58 (2.40%)
Israel216 (6.96%)10 (4.62%)5 (2.31%)5 (2.31%)
United Kingdom181 (5.83%)7 (3.86%)1 (0.55%)6 (3.31%)
Canada145 (4.67%)2 (1.37%)1 (0.68%)1 (0.68%)
NY / NJ1733 (55.90%)71 (4.09%)23 (1.32%)48 (2.76%)
Worldwide Total3100111 (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

TotalDivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
United States1537291118
United Kingdom122312
NY / NJ102822139
Worldwide Total1977412021
Men 18-25

TotalDivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
United States1287826
United Kingdom99000
NY / NJ895725
Worldwide Total163413310

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

TotalDivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
Traditional / Non Orthodox5061394
Modern Orthodox – Liberal1005412714
Modern Orthodox – Machmir1038582533
Yeshivish Modern210231112
Black Hat3001165
Sephardic Traditional40101
Shomer Mitzvot126633
Men 18-30 By Religious Classification

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

TotalDivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
Traditional / Non OrthodoxN/AN/AN/AN/A
Modern Orthodox – Liberal109424717
Modern Orthodox – Machmir96528721
Yeshivish Modern200532
Black Hat32120911
Sephardic Traditional67101
Shomer Mitzvot150743

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

TotalDivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
Traditional / Non Orthodox279321
Modern Orthodox – Liberal547734
Modern Orthodox – Machmir64518711
Yeshivish Modern132431
Black Hat207523
Sephardic Traditional21101
Shomer Mitzvot64110
Men 18-25 By Religious Classification

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

TotalDivorcedWith ChildrenWithout Children
Traditional / Non OrthodoxN/AN/AN/AN/A
Modern Orthodox – Liberal552312
Modern Orthodox – Machmir519413
Yeshivish Modern111000
Black Hat187303
Sephardic Traditional36000
Shomer Mitzvot70000

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


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