Amish Population Trends 2012

One-Year Highlights

Population. The Amish of North America grew by about 12,000 from 2011 to 2012, increasing from an estimated 261,150 in 2011 to an estimated 273,700 in 2012. (Figures include adults and children.) The Amish population doubles about every 18 to 20 years.

States. Amish communities are located in 30 states and the Canadian province of Ontario. The Amish established a new settlement in Wyoming and in Idaho in 2012. Three states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana) have about two-thirds (64 percent) of the Amish population. Combined, the ten states with the largest number of Amish have 93 percent of the total Amish population.

Settlements. About a dozen new settlements (geographical communities) were established in 2012. 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. Since July 1, 2011, the number of districts grew from 1,913 to 2,007.

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 July 1, 2012. 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 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 2012, One-Year Highlights.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College.

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