Population Growth

There are 469 Amish settlements spread across 30 states and the Canadian province of Ontario. These settlements include approximately 2,056 church districts (congregations). Nearly two-thirds of the districts are found in three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. (See Population By State for a state-by-state listing of the Amish population.)

Observers might expect a traditional group that rejects higher education, car ownership, and the Internet to be on the wane. On the contrary, the Amish population is growing constantly. The 200 church districts in 1951 have grown to to more than 2,000 by 2013.

 Large families and strong retention rates propel the growth. On average, families have about five children, but it’s not unusual for them to have ten or more. Typically, 85 percent or more of the youth join the church. (A few members do leave after baptism; defection rates vary from community to community.) Although the Amish do not seek converts, outsiders may join if they comply with Amish guidelines. Several dozen outsiders have done so.

 

Additional information

  • See chapter 9, "Population Patterns," in Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt, The Amish. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).
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