The Amish are far from perfect. Amish communities experience many of the same problems as other human groups, including greed, jealousy, and anger. Parents worry about their children. Some Amish youth rebel against their parents, the church, and even the law. Some marriages sour. Church leaders have been known to abuse their power. Sexual and physical abuse occurs in some Amish families. Disagreements sometimes debilitate a church district, forcing the local church to split into factions.

Despite their imperfections, the Amish have developed a remarkably stable society. With little government aid, they provide care and dignity for their elderly and disabled members. Apart from occasional alcohol or drug abuse among their youth, Amish communities have avoided many of the blights of modern life. With very few exceptions, they have no homeless or unemployed members and no one living on government subsidies. Virtually no Amish people are in prison, and only occasionally do Amish couples divorce. All things considered, they have created a humane society despite their lack of high school education, professional training, and full embrace of technology.

Additional information

  • Donald B. Kraybill, Renegade Amish: Beard Cutting, Hate Crimes, and the Trial of the Bergholz Barbers (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014).

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.

The Amish population statistics are updated annually in the summer. Other information is updated periodically.

For more in-depth discussion about the Amish:
The Amish book cover

Authors: Donald Kraybill, Karen Johnson-Weiner, and Steven Nolt (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013; paperback, 2018)

Recent books

In partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Press, the Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies publishes innovative and creative scholarship. The latest volume in the series explores the roles and experiences of Amish women:
The Lives of Amish Women book cover
Author: Karen Johnson-Weiner (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020)