Population Growth

There are 501 Amish settlements spread across 31 states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick. These settlements include approximately 2,200 church districts (congregations). Nearly two-thirds of the districts are found in three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. (See Population By State/Province for the number of settlements, church districts, and people in each state or province.)

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 2,200 in 2015.

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 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)