Population Growth

There are 532 Amish settlements spread across 31 states, the Canadian provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, and the South American countries of Argentina and Bolivia. These settlements include approximately 2,365 church districts (congregations). Approximately 61 percent of the districts (and 63 percent of the population) are in three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. See Amish Population 2017 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 approximately 2,365 in 2017.

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).

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 the summer. 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; paperback available in January 2018)


The Amish: A Concise Introduction book cover

Author: Steven Nolt (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016)