Population. The estimated population of the Amish of North America (adults and children) as of June 2018 is 330,270. This is an increase of approximately 11,880 since 2017, a growth rate of 3.73 percent. For a comparison of 2018 to 2009 population data, see Population Change 2009-2018 tables. For a comparison of 2018 to 1992 population data, see Population Change 1992-2018 tables.
States and Provinces. North American Amish communities are located in 31 states and four Canadian provinces. Approximately 63 percent of the population lives in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
South America. In the fall of 2015, horse-and-buggy-driving New Order Amish from the Midwest established two settlements in South America—one in Bolivia and one in Argentina. Each settlement has one congregation. Most of the members come from Old Colony Mennonite background. Today, these settlements relate to New Order Amish communities in Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina.
Settlements. During the past year, 21 new settlements (geographical communities) were established, two were reconfigured as a single settlement, and two existing settlements dissolved, a net gain of 18 settlements. New settlements are typically small, with only a few families in a single church district (congregation).
Almost 50 percent of all Amish settlements contain only a single church district. Older settlements such as those in the Holmes County, Ohio, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, areas contain more than 200 districts. (See Twelve Largest Settlements.) Larger settlements may have several different subgroups whereas smaller ones typically have just one subgroup.
Districts. In North America, the number of districts (congregations), each of which generally consists of 20 to 40 families, grew from 2,363 in 2017 to 2,443 in 2018, an increase of 80 in the twelve-month period.
Population Trends, 2009-2018. The North American Amish population grew by an estimated 92,750 since 2009, increasing from approximately 237,500 in 2009 to 330,270 in 2018, an increase of 39 percent. See Population Change 2009-2018 tables for details. The Amish population doubles about every 20 years. Since 2009, the number of districts has grown from 1,738 to 2,443, an increase of 705 districts. The same period saw a net gain of 136 settlements, including settlements in four new states (Idaho, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming) and three new provinces (Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island).
Reasons for Population Growth. The primary forces driving the growth are sizable nuclear families (five or more children on average) and an average retention rate (Amish children who join the church as young adults) of 85 percent or more. A few outsiders have joined the Amish, but the growth is almost entirely from within the Amish community.
Reasons for Creating New Settlements. The Amish establish new settlements for a variety of reasons, including a desire for: (1) fertile farmland at reasonable prices, (2) nonfarm work in specialized occupations, (3) rural isolation that supports their traditional, family-based lifestyle, (4) social and physical environments (climate, governments, services, economy) conducive to their way of life, (5) proximity to family or other similar Amish church groups, and (6) a way to resolve church or leadership conflicts.
Note: Population estimates for 2018 were calculated using a variety of sources including Raber’s New American Almanac, reports by correspondents in Die Botschaft, The Budget, and The Diary, settlement directories, regional newsletters, and settlement informants. The data includes all Amish groups that use horse-and-buggy transportation, but excludes car-driving groups such as the Beachy Amish and Amish Mennonites.
To cite this page: “Amish Population Profile, 2018.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. http://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/statistics/amish-population-profile-2018.