Questions on the Amish population and communities
- Where do Amish live?
- Are there any Amish outside America?
- How many Amish are there in total?
- Are the Amish growing?
- How many Amish communities are there?
- Which are the largest Amish communities?
- Do Amish live in closed colonies?
- Why do Amish move to new places?
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Where do Amish live? The Amish live in 30 states plus the province of Ontario. These include places like Pennsylvania and Ohio, but also lesser-known and far-flung communities in Texas, Maine, Kentucky, New York, Florida, and many other states. Amish move and start new settlements fairly frequently. Check our state-by-state guide for more on Amish in each location.
Are there any Old Order Amish outside the USA? As of 2017, there are settlements in three provinces in Canada. Amish once lived in Europe, but no longer do. Amish have tried to settle in Latin America on a few occasions, including in Mexico, Honduras, and Paraguay (see Sunshine and Shadow: Our Seven Years in Honduras by Joseph Stoll, for one Amishman’s account of life in Latin America). In 2016, two Amish communities were established in South America (Bolivia and Argentina). There are Beachy Amish groups outside America including in Europe and Africa.
How many Amish are there in total? As of 2014, nearly 300,000. The Young Center for Anabaptist & Pietist Studies (Elizabethtown College) produces an updated estimate each year. The figure for 2014 was 290,090. See our Amish population infographic for more.
Are the Amish growing? How fast? Yes. Their population is estimated to double about every 20 years, give or take a year or two. This is because they have large families, and most of their children choose to join the Amish church.
How many Amish communities are there? Nearly 500. 2014 estimates put the number at 480. The total increases by around a dozen or more new Amish settlements each year (see “Amish Settlements Across America: 2013”, Donnemeyer and Luthy for more on Amish settlements and growth).
Which are the largest communities? The biggest Amish settlements are found in Holmes County, Ohio; Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; and Elkhart and Lagrange counties in Indiana. Each of these communities is home to over 20,000 Amish.
Do Amish live in closed colonies or villages? No. Amish live in rural areas, and some in small villages and towns. In many cases Amish live next door to non-Amish neighbors. Their communities are not physically “closed” to outsiders.
Why do Amish move to new places? Amish migrate for different reasons. These include economic opportunities, the search for affordable farmland, overcrowding, a desire for a “slower” community, a desire to live in a community which allows more technology, and unresolved church disagreements.
Amish move and begin new communities more often than you might suppose. In 2013 researchers Joseph Donnermeyer and David Luthy estimated that there is a net gain of one new Amish settlement about once every four-and-a-half weeks. They consider this a conservative estimate.
- “Amish Population by State (2010).” Amish Studies. Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College, n.d. Web. Accessed 7 Mar. 2015. http://www2.etown.edu/amishstudies/Population_by_State_2014.asp.
- Donnermeyer, Joseph F., and David Luthy. 2013. “Amish Settlements across America: 2013.” Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies 1(2):107-29. Web. Accessed 7 Mar. 2015. <http://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1811/57700/JAPAS_Donnermeyer_Luthy_vol1-issue2_pp107-129.pdf?sequence=1>
- Stoll, Joseph. Sunshine and Shadow: Our Seven Years in Honduras. Aylmer, Ontario: Joseph Stoll, 1996.
- Nolt, Steven M, and Thomas J. Meyers. Plain Diversity: Amish Cultures and Identities. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007
- Johnson-Weiner, Karen. New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2010.
- Hurst, Charles E, and David L. McConnell. An Amish Paradox: Diversity & Change in the World’s Largest Amish Community. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
- Kraybill, Donald B., Karen Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt. The Amish. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
To Cite this Page: Wesner, Erik J. “Population.” Amish America. Erik Wesner, . 2015. Web. [Date Accessed]. <http://amishamerica.com/population/>.
Image credits: Gathering of men- Lauren Futch; family in buggy- Ed C.