(Hungary) MyHeritage DNA Study Reveals Hungary Has World's Second Largest Percentage of Population with Jewish (Ashkenazi) Ethnicity
Jan Meisels Allen
A new study MyHeritage DNA did with Dr. Daniel Staetsky, a statistician and demographer uncovered the number of people descended from Jewish ancestors in Hungary is higher than other demographers have previously estimated.
The first study of its kind revealed that the country with the highest proportion of Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity after Israel was Hungary. It was previously thought it was the United States. The study showed: After Israel, the top countries in terms of significant Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity were Hungary and Russia, followed by Argentina, South Africa, Ukraine, and then the USA. The analysis was a cohort of 1.8 million anonymized DNA tests taken by MyHeritage customers worldwide. The study included 100 countries.
A much lower percentage of people in Hungary, who self-identify as being Jews, is substantially lower compared with the DNA test-takers, even after adjusting for a degree of selectivity of MyHeritage users (most educated and well to do classes since commercial genetic testing which is more likely to be used by those cohorts.) It is also assumed that more Hungarian Jews assimilated into the local population before the Holocaust, more Hungarians survived the Holocaust than Jews in Poland, and more Jews remained in Hungary than in Poland following the Holocaust.
Jews have a long history in Hungary dating back to at least the early 13th century. By the early 20th century Jews constituted 5 % of Hungary’s total population and Jews comprised 23% of Budapest. (These are not MyHeritage’s numbers.) By 1941, over 17% of Budapest’s Jews were Roman Catholic converts, following coordinated pressure across Europe that began with the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century. Over 560,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered in Holocaust.
The MyHeritage study also revealed Russia having many more people with Jewish ethnicity than demographers expected.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee