Like their brethren in most other places, New York’s Amish population continues to grow.
Karen Johnson-Weiner recently spoke on the status of Amish in the state of “Excelsior“(the state motto, and also a good description – “ever upward” – of the NY Amish population’s trajectory).
New York currently has the fifth-greatest Amish population. According to the latest Amish Studies figures, it has the second-highest number of individual settlements (tied with Pennsylvania at 55, and behind only Ohio with 61).
The second edition of Karen’s book, New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State, was recently released.
As noted in the article on Karen’s talk, in the ten years since the first edition, 20 new Amish communities have been established in New York. It’s considered the fastest-growing Amish population of any state.
The Secret to Amish Growth
In the year 1900, there were only about 5,000 Amish, in just seven states (and Ontario). Now there are well over 300,000 in 32 states, several provinces, and two South American countries.
The Amish generally do not seek converts. The secret to Amish growth is quite simple, as Karen reminds us: “Very few people join the Amish, so growth really comes from within, with large family sizes.”
In many Amish families, a new baby can be an expected annual occurrence. I was reminded of this recently when when phoning an Amish friend, who changes his voice mail greeting every time a new child is added.
Family sizes of 6-8 children are common; those with ten or more are not unusual.
Eighty percent or more of those children choose to be baptized into the faith of their parents, typically beginning in their late teens.
Some states like New York have above-average growth due to Amish immigration. Cheaper, more abundant farmland in particular has attracted Amish to the Empire State.
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Amish in NY
One of my favorite hobbies is looking at real estate online. I have noticed, surprisingly, NY state has some of the cheapest land in the nation. I can see why the Amish would move there. I am from NY state originally. If you are a “city dweller” you can expect very high prices, but get out into the country and it is a whole different ball game. Yes, NY has a lot of country!! I have often thought I would love to go back and get a small hobby farm in upstate NY where the land is cheap, the country-side is beautiful and it is peaceful. Maybe some day my dreams will come true?
Interesting that it’s so cheap Alice, wonder how it compares to more remote, similarly farmable places.
But I guess it goes along with the decline of family farming. Here’s a chart showing that decline which is pretty dramatic:
I hope you have the chance to get that hobby farm, I suppose the Amish haven’t gotten to all the land yet:)
I am hoping within the next couple of years I might have enough money for a down payment or possibly more. I can tell you, farm land here is at a premium. It is often 2 or 3 times higher than areas of upstate NY. And pretty much only available now when someone dies and their heirs do not want it. Sad, really.
Go for it!
You should pursue your dream Alice Aber. We are pursuing the same; though not in NY state. Yes, go for it while you still can.
Unfortunately, the only thing that stands in my way is the funding to do it. But I keep chipping away at that. Even as old as I am, I am still wanting that change of life, LOL.
Upstate NY here....
I live at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, about 5 minutes from Sacandaga Lake. My home is surrounded by pine trees and there are woods all around me. I never liked the city and enjoy nature. I came across an Amish group in a horse drawn buggy not far from where I live. I was driving my 30′ RV and as I slowly passed them, they all waved and I waved back. I would love to visit an Amish community to do some photography and see how they live. They fascinate me and I like “wholesome” people. I came across this site trying to find a community near me and then try and find who I would speak to, to get permission to visit. I would never intrude on anyone and would respect their traditions. I’m not sure, but I don’t think they like their photos taken, or at least not show their faces, but I could be wrong.
Michele Haro, my daughter and I are also fascinated by the Amish and have been trying to get to a community that will allow us to view their way of life firsthand. My kids are homeschooled, and I think this would be a wonderful thing for my daughter. If you happen to find someone who will allow a viewing would you please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks
I have yet to get any responses from any communities. Maybe I’ll just wait for Spring and take a drive to some of the communities locally.
Just wondering if you know where the amish are in the adirondacks looking for a builder I have property I. duane I have a cabin I built in pitcher and would really not have to build another would rather find some amish to do it.
Amish Builders near Malone, NY
I too am looking for Amish builders for a 16′ x 24′ off the grid cabin shell. Did you find any builders near you in Duane? Thanks. Tom
Amish are trying to bring their horrible puppy mill farms to NY State. They are a nightmare. They do not believe in animal social welfare whatsoever and will treat animals in the most cruel fashion. One example is pulling out their vocal cords with a pliers! Farm animals will be pregnant and they will throw their newborns in dumpsters at the auctions! Anyone who knows Amish knows that we do NOT want them in NY but here they are. We MUST stop them from abusing animals here. Just go to any puppy mill in Lancaster and there will be your answer – stop the Amish!
I just got my hobby farm in Niagara county
I was wondering if you had any idea if there our any Amish settlements in Niagara County ? We just bought land and a home w/ barn in Cambria NY and need help with repairs to our 1850 barn
Thank you in advance
cheap land, high taxes
I have been looking at land prices in the Ohio, PA, NY area. The upper counties of NY have the cheapest land. The “lower tier” counties (up against PA) of NY are next.
But there are two things to remember.
1. The further north you go the harder it is to grow row crops. In northern NY (have relatives there), they are pushing the limit to grow corn.
2. Someone told me that NY has cheaper land than PA, but higher taxes. I don’t know if that is true, but suspect it is so. 🙂
Mike - Primitive Christianity
The taxes in NY state can kill you indeed, but there are a lot of tax breaks and incentives that can be had as well. Careful planning and researching ahead and I think you will find in the long run, NY is the better bargain. NY has lost a lot of citizens who do not farm and who want the most amenities. Those amenities come with a high price. The more rural it is the cheaper the cost of living, except food. But if you grow most of your own, if not all, then you can make out pretty good.
land taxes are not bad it’s when you start improving it. the bigger the house the higher the taxes. one of my properties is 5 acres it is farm country and it stated out about 300 then I put a driveway in and a shed it went up to just about 800 a year I also have
one in the adirondacks that is ten acres and I pay about 250 with nothing on it just pines
Follow your dream
Prices are great in upstate NY
And with rolling feilds of green pasture and old farm houses
Opportunity form Amish and English to enjoy is plenty
Live along the Mohawk River near Canajoharie &Fortplain
With many wonderful Amish communities
Yes, I agree. And that is such a beautiful area of NY state. I have not given up on my dream. I just need the money, LOL. “just”, LOL
That is because unlike Pennsylvania, which has a population that is spread more evenly across the state, the bulk of NY’s population is centered around the NYC area and surrounding suburbs. Much of upstate NY is still relatively empty (except for the cities like Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, etc).
Even though there are still many areas in PA that could undergo development, those areas are mostly in very hilly regions where the hills are too steep to really encourage development. NY is also larger than PA by about 8,000 sq miles.
Did you read of the new settlement in York County PA?
The Amish are now moving in larger and larger numbers west of the river to the neighboring county.
best place to visit?
Hi there, your site is so interesting and full of information. I wish I had more time to read it all and than go out for a visit. Unfortunately I only have today and tomorrow. I am in NYC and would love to get on a train with my bike and go for a visit. Can you advise where the closest place, to really feel the culture, would be? What area would be most interesting? Some place i could stay for a night?
I have been living in Israel most my life and everything is so intresting to me.
Thank you :}