Amish Population Trends 2009-2011
Population.In the two-year period from 2009 to 2011, the Amish of North America had an estimated population growth of 10 percent, increasing from 237,500 in 2009 to 261,150 in 2011. (Figures include adults and children.) See Population Change 2009-2011 tables for details. The Amish population doubled in the 20-year period from 1991 to 2010. If the population continues growing at the current annual rate of 5 percent, it will likely double again in 15 years, by 2026.
States.Amish communities are located in 28 states and the Canadian province of Ontario. The Amish established a new settlement in South Dakota in 2010, but did not enter any new states in 2011. Three states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana) have two thirds (64.3 percent) of the Amish population. Combined, the ten states with the largest number of Amish have 93 percent of the total Amish population.
Settlements. Thirty-six new settlements (geographical communities) were established over the past two years (more than one every three weeks)—an increase from 412 in 2009 to 448 in 2011. New settlements are typically small, composed of only a few families in a single district (congregation). Older settlements such as Holmes County, Ohio, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, have more than 175 districts.(See Twelve Largest Settlements.)
Districts. Each district, or congregation, is typically composed of 20 to 40 families. In the two-year period from 2009 to 2011, the number of districts grew from 1,738 to 1,913, an increase of 175 and an overall rate of 7.3 per month.
Growth States. The following statewide growth rates (2009-2011) were above the national average of 10 percent: New York (31 percent), Iowa (17 percent), Kentucky (15 percent), Missouri (15 percent), and Michigan (14 percent). Five other states showed increases above 10 percent, but each of these states has 6 or fewer districts and, therefore, an increase of just one district yields a large percentage increase. Colorado grew from 3 to 6 districts as a result of both new immigrants from other states and natural growth. States with a population increase of 3,000 or more are, in order of increase, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and New York.
Static States. Seven states with three or more church districts showed no growth between 2009 and 2011: Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Reasons for Growth. The 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) of typically 85 percent or more. Converts occasionally join the Amish, but reproduction and retention drive the growth.
Notes: Settlement and district statistics were updated in July 2011. 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 2009-2011, Two-Year Highlights.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. http://www2.etown.edu/amishstudies/Population_Trends_2009_2011.asp.
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