The 12 Largest Amish Communities (2017)

amish landscape lancaster

Where will you find the largest Amish communities?

Using the latest Young Center figures, here are the 12 largest Amish settlements as of 2017.

The numbers you’ll see in parentheses below are:

  • the total estimated population as of June 2017
  • the number of church districts
  • the year the community was founded

I’ve included a bit of info on each and links for further information. Which of these top 12 communities have you visited?


The Twelve Largest Amish Settlements as of 2017

1. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (36,920 people; 220 church districts; founded c. 1760) – The best-known, oldest, and most-visited Amish settlement in the world. Known for its annual schedule of mud sales which benefit local volunteer fire companies. The most common Amish surname here is “Stoltzfus“. This community includes churches in neighboring Chester and York Counties. Read more on Lancaster County.

Amish farm in the Holmes County community

2. Holmes County, Ohio (35,130; 274; 1808) – Holmes County and Lancaster County are nearly the same size, and by some estimates Holmes County has been considered larger in the past. In contrast to Lancaster County, this community is one of the most diverse, with around a dozen Amish affiliations, from the most conservative to progressive Amish represented here. Read more on Holmes County.

3. Elkhart & Lagrange Counties, Indiana (24,205; 181; 1841) – Amish in Northern Indiana are known for their RV production. It’s a generally progressive community which has gotten attention for challenges within the youth community. Home of the Connection magazine, the Shipshewana Mayfest Buggy Race, and the Pumpkinvine Trail. Read more on the Elkhart-Lagrange settlement.




4. Geauga County, Ohio (18,650; 132; 1886) – This large community east of Cleveland is often overlooked due to its proximity to the Holmes County settlement 90 minutes south. Home of the Geauga Amish Historical Library and loads of old-style ice machines found throughout the community. One of the big four Amish locations; after Geauga County, the next largest settlements drop off significantly in size. More on Geauga County.

Typical transportation of the Adams County Swiss Amish

5. Adams County, Indiana (8,595; 58; 1840) – The largest “Swiss” Amish settlement (Swiss Amish have different customs and speak a different German dialect than most other Amish). Covered buggies recently appeared in this community, in contrast to the traditional open buggies characteristic of Swiss communities. View 32 photos of the Adams County settlement.

6. Nappanee, Indiana (5,910; 43; 1842) – Centered around the town of Nappanee, this community is a stone’s throw from the Elkhart & Lagrange settlement. RV work is also common here. Nearby you’ll find a community of Old Order Mennonites. Read more on Nappanee.

7. Daviess County, Indiana (4,855; 29; 1868) – This southern Indiana settlement has a deep-fried flavor to it immediately noticeable in the local drawl (described by one observer as “Swiss Amish with a hillbilly accent”). Dinky’s auction house is a popular Friday destination for locals. More on the Daviess County Amish.

8. Arthur, Illinois (4,410; 30; 1864) – This community around the small town of Arthur is Illinois’s largest settlement by far. Here you’ll find Amish-owned Roselen’s Coffee & Delights, though the Rockome Gardens attraction is now closed. View 24 photos from the Arthur community.

Buggies of Big Valley’s three main Amish groups

9. “Big Valley”, Pennsylvania (3,905; 30; 1791) –  This settlement in Mifflin County in central PA is located in what is formally known as Kishacoquillas Valley, though if you ever visit you’ll quickly see why it has its nickname of “Big”. The roughly 30-mile long, 5-mile wide valley is home to three distinct Amish groups – Byler, Renno, and Nebraska Amish. Read more on Big Valley.

10. Allen County, Indiana (3,190; 22; 1852) – Another Indiana Swiss Amish settlement. As in other Swiss locations, particular surnames are prevalent here, such as Graber, Lengacher, and Schwartz. Allen County stands out visually for its large number of brick homes and common use of solar and wind power. Read more on Allen County.

11. Smicksburg, Pennsylvania (2,985; 21; 1962) – Along with Seymour, MO, this community found in Indiana County in western PA is by far the youngest on this list, suggesting relatively rapid growth. Here you’ll find the Midwest-style black buggy. More on Smicksburg.

12. Seymour, Missouri (2,665; 16; 1968) – A conservative community with Swiss Amish roots. The Seymour Amish recently faced a whooping cough outbreak. Read more on the Seymour settlement.

If we extended this list to 20, we’d include communities like Munfordville, Kentucky; New Wilmington, Pennsylvania; Conewango Valley, New York and Cashton, Wisconsin.

As seen in the recent population estimates, the Amish continue to grow rapidly, having increased by 100,000 over the past decade.

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    13 Comments

    1. Jeff Smejkal

      Hamptonville, NC

      In a previous issue you did an article on an Amish settlement in Hamptonville, NC. Are they still there? We were meaning to take a ride up there from here in Georgia. There was a Shiloh General Store and the wholesome country creamery. Don’t want to take a ride that far if nothing is there anymore. Thanks for all your interesting articles. We usually do the Lancaster scene because we originally lived about 3 hours from there in NY. We usually went down three or four times a year. Went to the farmers markets which we don’t have here in Georgia. Now we may go up to Lancaster maybe 0nce a year.

      1. Union Grove/Hamptonville NC community; Ethridge TN

        Hi Jeff, it’s been a few years since my last visit but they should still be there – it’s an established settlement started over 3 decades ago and had I believe at least a couple dozen families. It’s by no means a huge community so don’t expect anything like Lancaster, but worth a visit if you want to pick up some good food and get a bit of Amish atmosphere.

        https://amishamerica.com/amish-union-grove-north-carolina/

        Depending where you are in Georgia, you might want to consider visiting Ethridge, Tennessee instead. It’s a much larger community (around 10 churches vs. just 1 for Union Grove/Hamptonville), and a lot of small businesses and farm stands you can visit. Very plain Amish group, I found the handful of people I spoke with to be friendly.

        https://amishamerica.com/the-amish-of-ethridge-tennessee/
        https://amishamerica.com/ethridge-tennessee-amish-map/

        Glad you enjoy the articles and thanks for reading.

    2. Hi Erik, We’re still waiting for your visit to Wisc to check out some settlements! There needs to be more about Wisc Amish on here, and you could find out first hand when you visit! 🙂

      1. Sounds like a plan Terry 🙂 You’ll hear from me when I make it out your way!

    3. Harriet

      12 Largest...

      Hi Erik,

      Just got the old computer back today. I WAS HACKED!!!!! Expensive proposition.

      You will be glad to know that Grabill is just fine. I was there today and it must have been shopping day for every Amish lady in the area!! One of the restaurants was so full of people that we couldn’t even get in to eat.

      Heading to Shipshewana next week for the second visit this summer.

      Thanks for the post!!

      1. Harriet, computer troubles are never fun, but glad you are back up and running!

        Glad to hear that Grabill is well and you survived shopping day 😉 Enjoy Shipshewana, that ought to be pretty busy as well with tourists in town. Speaking of restaurants, when I lived there for a summer I used to eat my meals – breakfasts at least – in Goshen, which worked well as it was a bit off the beaten path and not so full of visitors. There was a pretty good diner, which had at least one or two Amish women working as waitresses, don’t recall the name.

    4. Mike Beaumont

      Looking to purchase Amish house and real estate also interested in visiting Amish my phone number is 414-881-2787 my address is 9720 West National Ave. W., Allis, WI 53227. Looking forward to hearing from you sincerely Michael Beaumont

    5. Jack Hunt

      The fact is that the only reason Holmes County seems to be a smaller Amish community is because the population there has spilled over into Knox, Coshocton and Tuscarawas Counties and is growing rapidly. I’ve been to Lancaster Pa several times its a lovely area but the Amish population there and in surrounding counties doesn’t seem to come close numbers wise to Holmes County and definately not when you also count the neighboring counties which are catching the overflow from Holmes.

      1. Jack it is a good point to note that much of the Holmes County area Amish population lies outside Holmes County itself (Wayne County also having many families), but the numbers that were used here do take into account the Amish population in the adjacent counties (the Lancaster County figure in turn would include Amish in Chester and York counties, which are considered part of the same settlement). The two communities are quite similar in size population-wise. One thing about Holmes County and the area that is quite different though, is that the Amish make up a significantly larger % of the population (strictly taking Holmes County, I believe it is about 40% Amish vs. around 7-8% Amish in the much more heavily-populated Lancaster County) which may make it seem that the Holmes area is “more Amish”.

    6. Sabine

      Thank you!!

      Hey Erik, it‘s Sabine from Germany. As I plan our US Roadtrip to get the possibility to learn some different cultures and way of lives, I found your website! Wow – this is amazing!! Thank you for this!
      I‘m excited and looking forward to visit an amish community!

      All the best,
      Sabine

      1. That’s great Sabine, glad you found it, I hope it’s helpful and you are able to visit a community. Some of these are more visitor/tourist-friendly than others, depending what you’d like to do.

    7. Pamela Campbell

      Iowa Community

      I was a bit disappointed that the Kalona Iowa Amish didn’t make the list.
      That’s my home-stompin’ grounds.
      We are looking for an Amish community to move to. We currently live off grid and plan to continue the no electricity, simpler way of living.

      1. Yes Kalona would be a good bit smaller than the smallest on this list (about half the size of #12), but still a decent size. I’d put them in a “3rd tier” of Amish settlements – consisting of roughly a couple dozen communities in the 10-20 church district size range. Those are still sizeable settlements and can be considered well-established communities if they manage to get that big.

        Are you familiar with any other communities?