The Amish Grew By 100,000 The Past Decade: 2017 Population Estimates

The Young Center at Elizabethtown College now has estimates available for the Amish population in 2017.

Amish are currently found in 31 states, three Canadian provinces, and two South American countries (Argentina and Bolivia).

amish population sizeYou’ll find the population overview here. You can view state/province/country figures here.

One new addition this year: interactive maps showing the population in each state and province.

You’ll also find a list of the 12 largest settlements.

The only change I noticed there is that Seymour, MO is now listed in spot #12 rather than the New Wilmington, PA community.

A few interesting figures:

  1. Over the past year, 21 new settlements were created, while 3 failed, for a net gain of 18 communities.
  2. There are an estimated 2,365 church districts.
  3. Over 60% of the Amish population lives in either Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Indiana.
  4. The total estimated Amish population as of June 2017 is 318,390.
  5. Amish are found in well over 500 distinct settlements (532 at the time of this tally).

This compares with an estimated population of 218,025 just 10 years ago (2007), an increase of about 100,000 people. Keeping with long term trends, the Amish continue to grow rapidly.

Post updated Feb 12, 2018

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    1. AJ

      The state of Pennsylvania now has nearly the same number of Amish today as the entire U.S Amish population in the early 1980s. In Another 20 years, the state of Pennsylvania will have more Amish than the entire Amish population in the early 1990s. This is of course assuming they continue to grow at that rate.

      What would be interesting to learn is what Amish groups is the fastest growing, and what percentage are those groups as a proportion of the entire Amish population. Groups such as the Swartzentruber are probably tippling their population and therefore making up a larger and larger slice of the Amish pie.

      1. It is an interesting topic to consider.

        As far as fastest-growing, I am not sure. From statistics in the book An Amish Paradox, the Andy Weaver group had the highest retention of the Holmes County groups at 97% (higher than the Swartzentruber 90%). And based on the 2005 HC Amish Directory they also had the largest family size, so I’d assume they’d be in consideration for one of the fastest-growing groups.

    2. Ruth Keener

      Amish at Lawrence County Tennessee

      I would like to know how much the Amish in Lawrence County Tennessee have grown. They are Swartzentruber .

    3. Just A Thought

      What I find remarkable about the Amish is their ability to exist without a communal holding. If you look at most orthodox religious groups in the U.S, many of them rely on communal religious holdings to survive. Hutterites have their sheltered communes, Old Colony Mennonites have their colonies, many “Mormon Fundamentalist” communities have communal property holdings. Even some Orthodox Jews have communal holdings, such as the one in Kiryas Joel, NY. Many Orthodox Jews do have their own private properties, but they tend to have lower retention rates and live significantly more clustered to maintain that cohesion (such as in cities)

      The Amish and some Old Order Mennonites appear to be the only religious community where each individual member and family is really independent, but still strictly follows their faith. The Amish own their own farms, houses, and businesses. Despite this the Amish still maintain that community/village type commitment to each other.

      When groups like the FLDS face legal troubles it often leads to a real destabilization in the group’s ability to function and exist. When an Amish community faces trouble such as the community in the Ohio beard cutting attack, the Amish as a whole do not get effected. You can’t look at the Amish as 1 church, because they do not exist as one settlement or district, but hundreds of separate churches who may only share affiliation. That is why I think they’re so successful, because their individual churches aren’t large, with maybe just 150-300 members per church, so they have fewer upheavals that other groups have where half the faithful are excommunicated at a time like had happened with the Old German Baptist in 2009. If one church wants to become liberal it can, but the rest of the churches stay committed and eventually multiply, filling the void where that stray church once was. It makes me believe that the Amish way of church is better. The smaller, the better for cohesion, and more focused and committed members are to each other.

      1. Bill Rushby

        Old German Baptist Division

        “Just A Thought” wrote: “other groups have where half the faithful are excommunicated at a time like had happened with the Old German Baptist in 2009.”

        I challenge this statement; half of the OGB church did not break away. The number who left was a much smaller percentage.

    4. AJ

      I think the long term projections are important, but not set in stone. I think most who have been interested in the Amish culture and faith are kind of surprised, but not surprised where the Amish are today. Many scholars who focused on them in the past had painted them as a quaint community that was slowly disappearing, but that opinion has changed since the 80s. They grow about 10-12k per year now. In just 16-yrs from now there could be close to 500k Amish.

    5. Al in Ky

      Thanks for the information about the latest statistics. Is there a list anywhere of the new settlements and the settlements that failed in the past year?

      1. I am not aware of one Al, but perhaps David Luthy or JAPAS will have one in the not too distant future. The last one came out in 2013 and it seems there has been a pattern of doing these updates every 5 years.

    6. Roger

      Amish in Halifax County, VA

      Amish in Halifax County, VA have over 65 families in 2 church districts as of August, 2017.

      Recently a buggy was struck near Nathalie and demolished by a speeding red truck which gave no indication of slowing down or trying to pass. Amish man and his daughter suffered cuts & bruises, but no broken bones.

    7. John Amey

      How do I connect with Amish looking for an excellent farming opportuinty

      Hello friends,
      My wife and I are looking to retire from dairy farming and yes, it is an awful time to make this change. However, health concerns are pushing us along. We have a beautiful valley, part of which will be sold with the dairy business.
      Ideal opportunity for two young couples and maybe New Hampshire could have a thriving Amish community someday. We are located about seventy five miles from the new community in Brownington, Vermont.

      We have been certified organic for eleven years and have a 605,000# contract or quota with Organic Valley.
      My particular question is how does one reach out to folks that might be interested.

      All inquiries and/or offers of information will be acknowledged.

      John Amey
      81 Tabor Rd,

    8. Al in Ky

      I have a suggestion. Advertise your farm in two publications:

      1) The Budget National Edition. The Budget (National Edition) is a weekly newspaper with circulation of about 19,000 which is read by many Amish and plain Mennonites (many who are farmers) in many states in the U. S. They regularly have ads advertising farms for sale in various states. Here is their address and phone number:

      The Budget
      P.O. Box 249
      Sugarcreek, Ohio 44681
      Phone: 330-852-4634

      (Be sure to tell them you want to advertise in The Budget National
      Edition. Their Local Edition focuses just on area of Ohio around Sugarcreek.)

      2) Truck Patch News is a monthly newsletter of the Truck Patch
      Connection, which is an organization of Amish and plain Mennonite produce farmers from many different states. I have an address, but no phone number:

      Truck Patch News
      P. O. Box 101
      Mt. Hope, Ohio 44660

      1. John Amey

        Thanks Al. Will contact Budget today. Would like to find someone before spring.