Population. The estimated population of the Amish of North America (adults and children) as of June 2021 is 361,475. This is an increase of approximately 10,810 since 2020. For a comparison of 2000 to 2021 population data, see Population Change 2000-2021 tables.
States and Provinces. North American Amish communities are located in 31 states and four Canadian provinces. Approximately 62.3 percent of the North American 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, 19 new settlements (geographical communities) were established and two existing settlements dissolved. New settlements are typically small, with only a few families in a single church district (congregation).
Fifty-one percent of all Amish settlements in North America 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 2,606 in 2020 to 2,718 in 2021, an increase of 112 in the twelve-month period.
Population Trends, 2000-2021. The North American Amish population grew by an estimated 183,565 since 2000, increasing from approximately 177,910 in 2000 to 361,475 in 2021, an increase of 103.2 percent. See Population Change 2000-2021 tables for details. The Amish population doubles about every 20 years. Since 2000, the number of districts has grown from 1,335 to 2,718, an increase of 1,383 districts. The same period saw a net gain of 290 settlements, including settlements in five new states (Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming) and three new provinces (Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island). A settlement that existed in Washington in 2000 dissolved in 2004.
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 2021 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, 2021.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. http://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/statistics/amish-population-profile-2021.