Population. The estimated population of the Amish of North America (adults and children) as of June 2019 is 341,900. This is an increase of approximately 12,850 since 2018, a growth rate of 3.9 percent. For a comparison of 2019 to 2010 population data, see Population Change 2010-2018 tables. For a comparison of 2019 to 1992 population data, see Population Change 1992-2019 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 organized 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, 22 new settlements (geographical communities) were established, two settlements were reconfigured as a single settlement, and two existing settlements (in Kentucky and in Wisconsin) dissolved, a net gain of 19 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 2,442 in 2018 to 2,537 in 2019, an increase of 95 in the twelve-month period.
Population Trends, 2010-2019. The North American Amish population grew by an estimated 92,400 since 2010, increasing from approximately 249,500 in 2010 to 341,900 in 2019, an increase of 37 percent. See Population Change 2010-2019 tables for details. The Amish population doubles about every 20 years. Since 2010, the number of districts has grown from 1,826 to 2,537, an increase of 711 districts. The same period saw a net gain of 139 settlements, including settlements in three new states (Idaho, 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 2019 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, 2019.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. http://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/statistics/amish-population-profile-2019.