The Amish are a Christian church that traces its roots to the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe. Amish people accept basic Christian beliefs but also have some special interpretations and emphases that have emerged throughout their history.

The Amish migrated from Europe to North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today they live in 501 geographical settlements in 31 states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick. (None remain in Europe.) Their population (adults and children) totals approximately 300,000. Their unique practices make the Amish one of North America’s most interesting and colorful religious subcultures.

Although all Amish people share certain common beliefs and practices, they are not one homogeneous group. Some forty different Amish affiliations, or tribes, have different names, different types of dress, colors of buggies, rules about technology, and restrictions on participating in American society. Regulations are approved and interpreted by local congregations. This means that there are hundreds of different ways of being Amish in North America.

About the site

Amish Studies is an academic website developed by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College to provide reliable information on Amish life and culture.

Designed to assist scholars, students and the general public, the site was developed with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of a collaborative research grant on Amish diversity and identity in the 20th century. The research team included principal investigator Donald B. Kraybill of Elizabethtown College (Pa.) and two co-investigators, Steven M. Nolt of Goshen College (Ind.) and Karen M. Johnson-Weiner of SUNY Potsdam (New York).

The Amish population statistics are updated annually in July. Other information will be revised and added on a periodic basis.

Recent books

The Amish book cover

Authors: Donald Kraybill, Karen Johnson-Weiner, and Steven Nolt (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013)

Renegade Amish book cover

Author: Donald Kraybill (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014)