With the expansion of the Amish to more and more locations (over 600 of them now in North America), and the recent addition of a new Amish state (New Mexico), it’s becoming easier to say where the Amish aren’t than where they are.
Now, that said, many states just have a small Amish presence – seen in just a handful of settlements (Wyoming, Arkansas, North Carolina) or sometimes just a single community (Idaho, Vermont, Texas). That noted, I thought it would be interesting to make a list of the remaining states without an Amish community.
So if you live in one of the following states, there are no horse-and-buggy Amish communities within your state borders. However, in some of these cases you’ll find related churches (eg, Beachy Amish in South Carolina). Or, some of these once had an Amish community, but no longer do (eg, Georgia).
The 18 States Without Amish
These are the 18 states without a horse-and-buggy Amish presence today. Listed in alphabetical order.
I have bolded the states which at one time in history had a horse-and-buggy Amish presence (see David Luthy’s The Amish in America: Settlements That Failed 1840-2019 for more on that).
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
You can see that of the 18, half of them (9) have had at least one Amish settlement at some time in their past. Often those were short-lived attempts (such as the single year in the early 1900s when Amish called California home) though others lasted longer (the quarter-century of Amish at McMinnville, Oregon).
When it comes to some of these states, it’s not too surprising that no Amish live there (Hawaii, Rhode Island). Others don’t seem too Amish-friendly, due to reasons such as climate and distance from other Amish areas (Utah, Nevada, Alaska).
That said, a number of these I could easily see welcoming Amish settlers at some point in the not-too-distant future. Those would include New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Which of these states are Amish most likely to settle next?
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Next States to have Amish
I would suggest that Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire would be the next states to have Amish settlements. Oregon already has several settlements of conservative Mennonite or Amish/Mennonite as does New Hamshire.
Nice suggestions Osiah, according to Luthy’s book Washington last had Amish near a place called Springdale from 1998 to 2004. Are any of the Mennonite communities in those states horse-and-buggy?
Where in New Hampshire?
Being a resident of New Hampshire I am interested as to where there are Amish near me.
I just wanted to comment and say thank you for your coverage of the different Anabaptist communities. I came from Amish roots (the Schlonegers of northeast OH) and one of my goals is to bring the language back into my family. I’ve since moved to Detroit MI, and my family attends an MC USA church, but my wife and I still dress a bit plain, since we gravitate a little “conservative” theologically. I like your respectful coverage and interesting articles, and it’s something I can share with friends and coworkers who sometimes have questions like “what makes Mennonites and Amish different” and the history of the faith groups. Keep up the excellent work.
Thank you Andrew and I hope the goal to bring PA Dutch into the family succeeds. Nice to be in Michigan where there are a good number of Amish communities where you might get in some live practice!
18 states without Amish Community
I clearly understand why settlements don’t exist in western states due to dry weather and overly populated states huge cities and not enough acreage to farm for their needs. freeways loaded with cars. They need back country roads for their horse and buggies. And the weather needs to be right. I believe because of their absence in those states is another reason to admire their lifestyle. Also I’m guessing other states south have different nationality. I don’t think they live among black communities. I never seen photos of Amish that are black.
It is not common to have Amish people who are black, but sometimes can happen by adoption. However choosing to stay with the church is another step; I have not heard of many adult Amish who are black.
Why bring up race? Do you suggest Amish people as a whole purposely try to avoid black people? Black people live in every state Are all other races acceptable? I doubt you’ll find too many Asian Amish people. If anyone is purposely avoiding black people I think they are missing the point entirely on what it is to be a good human being The Amish purposely want to remain separate, and even in that sense they aren’t loving thy neighbor so wonderfully if they think outsiders are not as righteous as they are. I admire a lot of the Amish lifestyle but they are only humans like everyone else, surviving in God’s crazy world, in which he made for us, all of us
You know that black people have a violent crime rate that’s 9 times the national average? That black men are six percent of the US population but commit 54 percent of its homicides? Can’t imagine why a pacifist sect would engage in white flight.
More likely in the future
This is very interesting post because it reminds me of what the late Amish scholar, John Hostetler, wrote back in 1982 where he discussed the difficulties of establishing settlements in the Great Plains and Western States He called it “limited opportunities” for the Amish to create an economic base and sustain social and cultural patterns. The major challenges are that one cannot do the same kind of farming out west as in New York, PA and the various midwestern states. The other challenge is the relative social isolation, such as a lack of nearby settlements for back and forth visiting and cooperative work on various building and repair projects. But, projections are that by mid-century, with the Amish population doubling every 20 years, the number of settlements will increase from about 625 today to nearly 1,600 by 2050. We already see an increase in western and Great Plains states settlements. Partly, it is because of the Amish shift out of agriculture to sawmills, furniture-making etc. So, get ready Oregon, Washington, and California! Only a few years ago, there were no settlements in Wyoming and by the end of 2023, there will be 5 in Wyoming and over 10 in Montana. In other words, isolation is decreasing as a factor for challenging community sustainability. As Bob Dylan wrote, the times, they are a changing.
Great comment Joe and thanks for bringing to my attention this prognosis for mid-century. Might be near the million-Amish-mark by then. Although you know what they say about predictions being hard, especially ones about the future 🙂
18 states without Amish
I just came back from visiting Cheyenne Wyoming. I saw a plain young lady in the Walgreens there and I asked her where she was located? First she told me that she was a conservative mennonite (which I knew) and then she told me her community is located in Carpenter,Wyoming.
I didn’t see any Amish while I was there; only Mennonite folks.
I’m curious as to what parts of Wyoming the Amish would build their communities in?
Tell them to set up in Oregon again, please!!!
Yes, avoid the area around Portland. But the south and east are more conservative. The west gets more rain, so anywhere around Roseburg or south of there would work for farming. They have farms out here all over. I would love it if they did that, I would love to visit and buy items like what you show on this site.
Leana I don’t know where you are in Oregon but the closest Amish store to you might be the one near Lemhi, Idaho. I understand that “close” is a relative term when talking drives in Western states.
Wyoming settlements and other comments
I read the post about the location of Wyoming settlements. Here are the names of those settlements, with the names corresponding to a nearby town, almost always one with a post office — Hulett (Crook County), Newcastle (Weston County), Buffalo (Johnson County) and Powell (Part County). Only Hullett is more than five years old. As the matter of meeting a Mennonite person that looked Amish, keep in mind that there are still horse-and-buggy Mennonites and car-driving Mennonites that still dress conservatively. So, mix-ups are very possible. Also, there are former Amish communities in some western states. In those cases, they decided to allow car ownership and re-affiliate with a Mennonite conference or simply remain independent/autonomous. They too may still dress conservatively.
The 18 States WITHOUT An Amish Community
Thank you Joe for your input on Wyoming Amish communities!
My two suggestions are North Dakota and Alabama.
There are several Amish communities in northern Minnesota that have developed in recent years — only 25 to 50 miles east from the North Dakota border. So, if an Amish community developed in western North Dakota, the Amish there wouldn’t be too far from other Amish.
In Alabama, in recent years that has been a new Old Order Mennonite (OOM) community develop in northern Alabama at Section (an outreach community of the Delano, Tenn. OOM community) There is an old saying that goes, “Where you find Mennonites (in rural areas), you often find Amish and vice versa.” I think the Amish community in Alabama that failed was in far southern Alabama (Bay Minette), so maybe northern Alabama would be more suitable to an Amish community.
18 States WITHOUT an Amish Community . . .
Hey, Matt (or anyone else who knows) what is “white flight”???
Thank you for clarifying it for me.
nearest to New Hampshire
Although New England is an area with a much greater presence today than in the past, there are no settlement in New Hampshire. There is, however, one in Vermont, call Orleans and is located in Orleans county. There are now ten in Maine, and a few are in central Maine. All of the Maine settlements are, by county: Aroostock County (Smyrna, Staceyville, Sherman, Hodgdon & Perham), Waldo (Unity), Lincoln (Whitfield), Androscoggin (Wales & Livermore), Oxford (Hiram), and Somerset (Mercer & Palmyra).