The national Jewish surveys done in 1990 and 2000 were the subject of much controversy because of questions like these. Additionally, in the 2000 survey, data was said to have been lost, misunderstood and miscounted.

Demographers, it turns out, also tend to be a feisty crowd, and after both national surveys they publically ripped into their peers’ methodologies and analysis.

But Phillips said that what outsiders perceive as catfights are pretty standard for the academic world, where merciless peer reviews are common. He points out, too, that all the demographers who criticize each other continue to work together and share data sets.

Julie Gruenbaum Fax, “Who Knows Who L.A.’s Jews Are?,” The Jewish Journal (27 July-2 August 2012), 37.