2014 Amish Population Numbers (Infographic)
The 2014 Amish population estimates have been released by the Young Center for Anabaptist & Pietist Studies.
Rather than simply recite data to you, I was inspired to create an Amish population infographic to share the info in a fun visual way. It was my first crack at building an infographic. I think it turned out not too shabby 🙂
Click the thumbnail below to view the full-size image.
If you like it, feel free to share it. You’ll see social media buttons at the bottom of the full-size infographic. I’ve also included embed code to copy if you’d like to place it on your own site. If this gets a good response, we’ll do more of them.
One million Amish-men can’t be wrong.
I hope I’m around to see one million Amish people Shom. I am 35, so if you saw the year that’s projected to happen in the infographic, I have a shot 🙂
Eric and SHOM - 71-ish year old geezers in 2050
I am 35 too, and I hope to be around then also.
I’m inclined to believe that the Amish will be one of those things in the year 2050 that won’t have changed all that drastically despite the projected numbers (I mean there probably will be changes, but as you’ve noted time and time again, they are slow to change, right?).
[edit/apology, sorry, I’ve not been around a lot, and I forgot your Erik with a k, momentary 71 year old moment on my part, darn that sudden onset]
Will the Amish growth rate slow down?
I like the picture you paint Shom, careful with the “geezers” though, my dad is pushing that age and he may wish to differ 😉
It’s really hard to say whether that rate will hold up or not, there were times in their history when a significant numbers of Amish left the fold for higher churches and knocked the base population down.
Donald Kraybill recently described the rise of small businesses and move off the farm as “probably the most consequential change in Amish life since they came to North America in the 18th century”, and the effects of that change are probably going to take some time to play out. http://crown.kings.edu/?p=1594
On the other hand it is easier to stay Amish now than it once was–you don’t have to be a dairy farmer to make it, as we see by the growing variety of occupations Amish find themselves in. Great news for Amish who don’t love farming 🙂
(and no worries on the”c” for “k”, I get that all the time 🙂 )
Infographic, Geezers, & Erik/c
1. Nice job, succinctly encompassing a lot of information.
2. My father used to say that, “Old is fifteen years more than me; however old I am, anyone fifteen or more years beyond than that is OLD!”
3. Whatever anyone else does in spelling one’s name is of no consequence, as long as Payroll gets it right.
PS – I doubt I’ll be around for the millionth Amish…have a nice party!
Thanks City Slicker, you share both kind and, as usual, wise words 🙂
Still Ohio by a nose.
I am quite surprised at the numbers and rate of US Amish population growth. Fascinating information in such a concise manner. Thanks!
My pleasure Greg, it took way longer than it probably should have because I made it from scratch and so there’s all sorts of little positionings, font size tweaks, etc, and since I’m not a designer of course it never quite looks just how you want it 🙂
But it was fun to make and I think it turned out pretty well all things considered. If I end up doing more of these I’ll probably start with a ready-made theme and then customize it.
Thanks for sharing this interesting information. I will print it
and share with several of my Swartz. Amish friends who seem very interested in this type of information. I’m thinking when the 2015
report comes out, Kentucky may well be over the 10,000 mark and then may have a place on your infograph like the second one listed. I think the infographs are very helpful — easy to understand.
We know our own best
Thanks Al, great idea. If I recall correctly, remember reading, it might have been one of Karen Johnson-Weiner’s solo writings like New York Amish or possibly the recent book The Amish, about how the people in the Swartzentruber community were quick to name other Swartzentruber settlements but were less aware of non-Swartzentruber ones.
Makes sense for anyone really, since if you don’t study these things you’re going to know the people you interact with best and other people less so. Anyway I’d love to hear what they think, and if they don’t know already, how many states/communities they’d guess Amish live in.
That is really well done and easy to look at! Curious info about the states they are NOT inhabiting….thanks for sharing, Erik!
Thanks, Kim! It was fun to make. There was actually more I wanted to include, but left out since you can have too much info. I was glad for the nice fresh Young Center data to work with.
Loved this! Great job, Erik! Thanks!
Thanks Margaret, I had fun with it.
I think my favorite stat was the one about the % of Amish population living in just the top 5 largest settlements.
Great information Erik. I was just writing our Amish friends, and I will also include this information. I do hope the million will be reached….we need more “gentle” and non-violent people in our country. I think it is a matter of attitude. I’m sure you have seen that in Europe you have to be careful about pick-pockets, but in general the people won’t hurt you. You are actually safer in Europe than in the US going by the numbers.
I have noticed a decrease in the number of children in Lancaster County due to less available land for farming, but still the general population is growing. Our Amish friends just had a new family member making it 6, and they do have a farm. Even the little ones do more work around the house than our three ever did 🙂
Differing Amish birthrates across different groups
It’s interesting that different Amish groups and communities can have quite different birthrates, even a difference of 2 or 3, or more, children on average.
There is some good info in both The Amish and in Steven Nolt and Thomas Meyers’ books on the Indiana Amish on this. For instance Nolt and Meyers report that the Nappanee settlement has an average family size of 7 children while Adams County has 9, and the small Kokomo settlement just 6.
In The Amish the authors share the mean number of children for women of 17 different communities and affiliations, with a lot of range–from 5.5 for the Holmes County New Order to 10.2 for Buchanan County, Iowa.
Thanks for passing the info along Bob. And I agree with you that a gentler approach would be good all around!
It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the overall Amish birthrate in the future.
I have the book “The Amish” and I did a little math. It seems like the uber-high fertility groups (8+ kids per woman), e.g. Swartzentrubers, Adams Co. Swiss, Hazleton Amish, Troyer Amish, etc… make up 20-25% of Amish.
I would expect the fertility of most Amish communities to decline as they continue to move away from farming and slowly liberalize. But on the other hand, groups that keep their uber-high fertility, which are already a substantial minority, will make up an increasing share of the Amish population in coming years. For example, just doing some quick math, it seems that the Swartzentrubers + the Adams Co. Swiss Amish combined went from 8% of all Amish in 1991 to 10% of all Amish in 2011. Obviously, as the high fertility Amish grow in relative numbers this will increase the birth rate. So it seems that you have two forces pulling Amish fertility in opposite directions.
Will Amish become more conservative as a whole?
It’s a good point Mark, I believe most of the traditional groups you mention have pretty high retention (some of the lowest retention is among the New Order people, who also have smaller family sizes). It might mean Amish as a whole steadily become more conservative…or not, if enough of the more traditional groups are also pulled in the liberalizing direction.
Migration may also play a role, if those who move to more remote locations end up being more insulated from liberalizing influences.
Amish becoming more so
Gregory Cochran, a physicist (I believe) who dabbles a lot in anthropology, had a blog post up a while back where he claimed the Amish are becoming increasingly “Amish” in their personalities due solely to defections. I’m on a phone so its not convenient to link to it but Google his name plus Amish and it should show up.
The gist of it is: 1) personality traits are determined to a large degree by genes, which I don’t think anyone in the know doubts; 2) certain personality traits predispose people to leaving the Amish; and 3) people who leave the Amish take their anti-Amish genes with them and out of the Amish gene pool. He thinks one reason defections have declined is that fewer people born in Amish communities are predisposed toward defecting.
The post involved some math. That, I cannot give you the gist of.
How Are They All Surviving?
Amish families tend to own significant plots of land if they farm. Do they just keep subdividing for all their many children and grandchildren? It doesn’t take many generations before a family can’t survive on the little bit of land that they inherit.
Alternative occupations for Amish
You are right Don, some have expanded the ways they use that land–a good example is intensive produce farming, organic or conventional. This offers a way to make a living on 5-6 acres rather than 60-80. Developing a small business, or working out for another employer, Amish or non-Amish (for instance with Amish RV workers in northern Indiana) are the other two main ways Amish have been able to survive high land prices/scarcity. Another option is to move where land is cheaper, which a lot have done.
Predictions on new areas?
Erik: “Another option is to move where land is cheaper, which a lot have done.”
So, any predictions on what state/region new growth may go?
Where do Amish go next?
Interesting question Don. Affordable land and a local environment that is receptive or at least not hostile are two things that can help, though that’s definitely not the whole list (if you’re interested we went into a list of 8 factors here: https://amishamerica.com/could-amish-be-headed-to-your-neighborhood-8-factors-to-consider/ ).
Maybe Tennessee and Virginia? Seems they’ve each been getting a few new communities lately and there are quite a few Amish in bordering states, particularly with TN/KY. I also don’t see why Amish won’t continue to find recently popular states like NY, KY and MO attractive as well.
Unity Maine Amish
Erik, I have never visited an Amish community, but plan to Drive through Unity, Maine on Friday. I am looking forward to it.
Let us know how your trip goes Caroline!
Means of counting?
Just a curiosity question here…. As I’ve looked at materials here and elsewhere I notice that there are differing means of counting the Amish population — some which seem to go with simply counting (estimating) number of people, others that opt for measuring community size by number of church districts. Outside of something like local tourism (that will predictably use whatever means of counting that will make their community look the most attractive), what are the reasons for preferring/using one means over another? For example, to me the raw count of individuals (or possibly the raw count of family units) seems like the most helpful. But yet many seem to build their information on the settlements’ number of church districts — which is more easily obtained, I suppose — even though it tells us less about actual population.
Counting Amish church districts vs. population numbers
I agree, I think most people will be more interested in the number of people since that is easiest to understand.
The Young Center estimates include both; I chose to share church districts for some of the data in this infographic and people numbers in other.
The reason I decided to use church districts in part of the infographic was because it was a good excuse to be able to explain a bit about these essential units of Amish society to a casual viewer.
Ideally I would have squeezed both in, but decided it would be too crowded for the format. Hopefully people will be made curious enough to read further or go to the data source and learn more.
Hi all. I read this blog regularly, a long time lurker I guess you’d say, and I love it. I have an Anabaptist heritage which I was cut off from growing up and “discovered” the Amish and Mennonites when I was a grad student at The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I rented a little gross dawdy house on a Mennonite farm and I fell in love. I spent three years as a Conservative Mennonite and attended Beachy services from time to time. It was the happiest time of my life. Anyway, I was wondering how to email Erik directly. I had some questions and didn’t want to hijack any one thread with off the topic stuff.
Sure thing Heather, glad you decided to jump in here 🙂 You can email me at , I can either respond by email or point you to a good thread if there’s one out there.
Deer Lodge Settlement
My friend Charley and l had a wonderful visit with some Amish friends at Deer Lodge on the 22nd. The twenty fifth family just arrived. There is plenty of farm land for more families to come. It is beautiful around Deer Lodge and l hope this new settlement will be a success.
Great infographic, Erik! Gives a nice overview of the Amish population. Very interesting 🙂
I should be around for the population of 1 million Amish. Wonder if they will keep growing at that rate…
Is there any way we could get a PDF copy or otherwise printable copy of the population graphs to display at The Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center (Behalt) near Berlin, OH? You’ve been here before, Eric. Thank you for any information or help.
Sorry for the late response, I emailed you about this but I think it bounced back and wasn’t delivered to you. Using it shouldn’t be a problem, if you are still interested just drop me an email at
I saw mu First Amish Bug in
Yes I saw my first Amish Bug in down town Columbiana Ohio
Wow! But I don’t understand is why the city have not post Amish Buggy Signs on our road yet? in town of Columbiana people may not like to see Horse pop on the road so Not sure how this will play out.
Ps why the city have not post Amish Buggy Signs on our road yet? should that be first before the Amish get on the road?