Amish Population Profile 2014

Population. The estimated population of the Amish of North America (adults and children) as of May 1, 2014, is 290,100. This is an increase of approximately 8,400 since 2013, a growth rate of 3 percent. For previous population figures and growth rates, see Population Change 1992-2013 tables and Population Change 2008-2013 tables.

States. Amish communities are located in 30 states and the Canadian province of Ontario. During the past year, the states in which Amish communities are situated have not changed; no Amish communities formed in new states and no states lost their Amish communities.

Settlements. During the past year, 11 new settlements (geographical communities) have been established (469 settlements existed in 2013; 480 settlements in 2014). New settlements are typically small, with only a few families in a single church district (congregation). Fifty-two percent of all Amish settlements contain only 1 church district. Older settlements such as those in the Holmes County, Ohio, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, areas contain more than 195 districts. Larger settlements may have several different subgroups whereas smaller ones typically have just one subgroup.

Districts. The number of districts (congregations), each of which generally consists of 20 to 40 families, grew from 2,056 in 2013 to 2,119 in 2014, an increase of 63 in the 12-month period. Approximately 12 percent of all districts are the only district in their settlement.

Big Three States. Historically, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana have claimed about two-thirds of the North American Amish population. That trend continues this year: 64 percent of the total Amish population lives in those three states.

Reasons for Population Growth. The primary forces driving the growth are sizeable nuclear families (five or more children on average) and an average retention rate (Amish children who join the church as young adults) of 85 percent or more. A few outsiders occasionally join the Amish, but the bulk of the growth is from within the Amish community.

Reasons for New Settlement Growth. The Amish establish new settlements in states that already have Amish communities as well as in “new” states for a variety of reasons that may include: (1) fertile farmland at reasonable prices, (2) non-farm work in specialized occupations, (3) rural isolation that supports their traditional, family-based lifestyle, (4) social and physical environments (climate, governments, services, economy) conducive to their way of life, (5) proximity to family or other similar Amish church groups, and sometimes to (6) resolve church or leadership conflicts.

Notes: Settlement and district statistics were updated as of May 1, 2014. Population figures (adults and children) are estimates calculated by using state-sensitive averages of the estimated number of people per church district. The number of people per district varies by region, community, affiliation, and age of the district. Thus the actual number of people in a specific district or state may be higher or lower than the estimates in the tables. The national composite average per district is 137. The data includes all Amish groups (Old Order and New Order) that use horse-and-buggy transportation, but excludes car-driving groups such as the Beachy Amish and Amish Mennonites.

Sources: Raber’s Almanac, reports of correspondents in Amish publications, the annual migration report in The Diary, state and regional settlement directories, and informants in settlements.

To cite this page: “Amish Population Profile 2014.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College.

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