Population Growth

TThere are 607 Amish settlements spread across 31 states, the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island, and the South American countries of Argentina and Bolivia. These settlements include 2,720 church districts (congregations). About 62 percent of the districts are found in three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. See Amish Population 2021 for details.

Observers might expect a traditional group that rejects higher education, car ownership, and the Internet to be on the wane. On the contrary, the Amish population is growing constantly. The 200 church districts in 1951 have grown to 2,720 in 2021.

Large families and strong retention rates propel the growth. On average, families have about five children, but it’s not unusual for them to have ten or more. Typically, 85 percent or more of the youth join the church. (A few members do leave after baptism; defection rates vary from community to community.) Although the Amish do not seek converts, outsiders may join if they comply with Amish guidelines. Several dozen outsiders have done so.

Additional information

  • See chapter 9, “Population Patterns,” in Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt, The Amish (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).
  • Lawrence P. Greksa and Jill E. Korbin, “Key Decisions in the Lives of the Old Order Amish: Joining the Church and Migrating to Another Settlement,” Mennonite Quarterly Review, 76, no. 4 (July 2002).

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)