Did you know that the South has more states with an Amish population than any other region?

First, there’s the question of what defines a region. The South of 2018 is a vast, diverse place. But I think it’s safe to say some states seem more traditionally “southern” than others. For instance, is South Carolina more southern than say Maryland?

Other states sort of fit the concept of South, and sort of don’t. Isn’t Texas just Texas, its own place? What about Florida?

That said, the US Census Bureau classifies states into four major regions (leaving out Alaska and Hawaii). Here’s their map:

Or another map showing just the Southern states highlighted:

Going by this map there are a whopping 12 states in the South with an Amish presence as of 2018. That would be out of 31 total states with Amish.

We tend to think of the Amish being more common to the Midwest and to Pennsylvania. And by total population, they are.

But in terms of numbers of states with an Amish presence, the South is ahead. Here is how it breaks down by region:

  1. South – 12 of 16 states have Amish
  2. Midwest – 11 of 12 states have Amish
  3. Northeast – 4 of 9 states have Amish
  4. West – 4 of 11 states have Amish

Of course, the South has more states overall than any other region. Notably, nearly every state in the Midwest has an Amish presence (North Dakota the lone exception).

Southern States With Amish – 2018

Below you’ll find a list of states in the South with an Amish population as of 2018. Numbers here are based on the latest report on the Young Center’s Amish Studies website.

Giles County, VA

I’ve included 1) the number of settlements, and 2) total estimated population by each state. Here they are in order of population:

1. Kentucky (43 settlements; 12,630 Amish) – The only Southern state in the top 10 overall in terms of population. It has seen a lot of new communities pop up in the past decade, with about a dozen new settlements.

2. Tennessee (12 settlements; 3,220 Amish) – The main community here is the very plain Swartzentruber settlement at Ethridge.

3. Delaware (1 settlement; 1,650 Amish) – Delaware ranks high on this list, despite there being just one community in the First State. The settlement at Dover has been around over 100 years.

4. Maryland (3 settlements; 1,575 Amish) – Amish from Lancaster County settled St. Mary’s County in 1940. Today you’ll still see the characteristic Lancaster grey buggies, as this community has grown to nine churches. Amish also live in the atypical community at Oakland.

maryland amish buggy

St. Mary’s County, MD

5. Virginia (7 settlements; 1,230 Amish) – Virginia lies near Amish-friendly Pennsylvania, but has a relatively low Amish population. Still, VA has drawn Amish from places like Lancaster County and Dover.

6. Oklahoma (4 settlements; 645 Amish) – The Sooner State recently added two communities to join its longstanding settlements at Chouteau and Clarita.

7. West Virginia (4 settlements; 300 Amish) – Similar to Virginia, few Amish live here despite its proximity to two Amish-heavy states (OH and PA).

8. Mississippi (1 settlement; 260 Amish) – The state’s lone community has roots in Tennessee’s Ethridge settlement. The only “Deep South” Amish location.

9. North Carolina (2 settlements; 260 Amish) – North Carolina recently added a second community to join the state’s 30-plus-year-old settlement at Union Grove.

Union Grove, NC

10. Arkansas (2 settlements; 240 Amish) – Arkansas has only ever seen sporadic Amish settlement. The number of communities has actually declined from three to two since 2010.

11. Florida (1 settlement; 100 Amish) – Florida needs an (*). It gets an asterisk because Florida’s sole Amish community at Pinecraft (Sarasota area) swells to many hundreds or perhaps thousands during the colder months. Despite its attractiveness as a Plain vacation destination, its year-round population is small.

12. Texas (1 settlement; 65 Amish) – Texas’ sole Amish outpost at Beeville has been frequently-covered on this site, in proportion to its small population perhaps more than any other. It was founded nearly 20 years ago and today sits at an estimated 65 Amish. The hardscrabble terrain of Bee County simply does not draw Amish like other more agriculturally-friendly places do.

Image credits: Ethridge – Adair Faust; Giles County – Shawn

Amish-made cheese

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