Amish Population Trends 2009-2010
Population. In the one-year period from 2009 to 2010, the Amish of North America show an estimated population growth of 5 percent, increasing from 237,500 in 2009 to 249,500 in 2010. (Figures include adults and children.) See Population Change 2009-2010 tables for details. If it continues growing at an annual rate of 5 percent, the Amish population will double in 14 years, by 2024. Their population doubled in the 20-year period from 1991 to 2010.
States. Amish communities are located in 28 states and the Canadian province of Ontario. In 2010 a new Amish settlement was established in South Dakota. Three states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana) have two thirds (64.8 percent) of the North American Amish population. The top ten states account for 93 percent of the population.
Settlements. Sixteen new settlements (geographical communities) were established over the past year (one about every three weeks)—an increase from 411 in 2009 to 427 in 2010. New settlements are typically small with a few families in one district (congregation). Older settlements such as Holmes County, Ohio, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, have more than 150 districts. Larger settlements may have several different subgroups, whereas smaller settlements typically have just one subgroup. (See Twelve Largest Settlements.)
Districts. The number of districts (congregations, each of which is composed of 20 to 40 families) grew from 1,738 to 1,826, an increase of 88 from 2009 to 2010, at a rate of 7.3 per month across the country.
Growth States. The following statewide growth rates were above the national average of 5 percent: New York (19 percent), Michigan (9 percent), Missouri (8 percent), Wisconsin (7 percent), Illinois (7 percent). Colorado is a rapid growth state. Its number of church districts doubled from 3 to 6 as a result of both new immigrants from other states and natural growth. States with a population increase of 1,000 or more are, in order of increase, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
Static States. Nine states (with three or more church districts) showed no growth between 2009 and 2010: Minnesota, Tennessee, Delaware, Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Arkansas, and Maine. Kansas and Nebraska each lost a district.
Reasons for Growth. The primary forces driving the growth are sizeable nuclear families (five or more children on average) and a high retention rate (Amish children who join the church as young adults) that typically is 85 percent or more. A few outsiders occasionally join the Amish, but the bulk of the growth comes from within the community.
Notes: Settlement and district statistics were updated in July 2010. Population figures (which include adults and children) are estimates calculated using state-sensitive averages of the estimated number of people per church district. The number of adults and children 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 these tables. The national composite average per district is 136.6. The profile 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, correspondents in Amish publications, the annual migration report in The Diary, state and regional settlement directories, and informants in various settlements.
To cite this page: “Amish Population Trends 2009-2010, One-Year Highlights.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. http://www2.etown.edu/amishstudies/Population_Trends_2009_2010.asp.
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