Population Trends 2008-2013

5-Year Highlights

Population. The Amish of North America grew by 46,000 since 2008, increasing from an estimated 235,000 to 282,000 in 2013. (Figures include adults and children.) See Population Change 2008-2013 for details. The Amish population doubles about every 18 to 20 years. The Amish population expanded 20% in the five years since 2008.

States. Amish communities are located in 30 states and the Canadian province of Ontario. They established settlements in three new states since 2008 (Idaho, South Dakota, and Wyoming.) Three states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana) have about two-thirds (64 percent) of the Amish population. Combined, the ten states with the largest number of Amish have 92 percent of the total Amish population.

Settlements. Fifty-nine new settlements (geographical communities) were established since 2008. New settlements are typically small, composed of only a few families in a single district (congregation). Older settlements such as Holmes County, Ohio, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, have more than 195 districts.

Districts. Each district, or congregation, is typically composed of 20 to 40 families. Since 2008, the number of districts grew from 1,710 to 2,056, for a net gain of 346.

Reasons for Growth. The forces driving the growth are sizeable nuclear families (five or more children on average) and a retention rate of 85 percent or more. Converts occasionally join the Amish, but reproduction and retention drive the growth.

Notes: Settlement and district statistics were updated in June 2013. Population figures (which include adults and children) are estimates calculated using state-sensitive averages of the estimated number of people per church district. The number of adults and children per district varies by region, community, affiliation, and age of the district. Thus, the actual number of people in a specific district or state may be higher or lower than the estimates in the tables. The national composite average per district is 137.  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.

Sources: Raber’s Almanac, reports of correspondents in Amish publications, the annual migration report in The Diary, state and regional settlement directories, and informants in settlements.

To cite this page: “Amish Population Trends 2008-2013, 5-Year Highlights.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. http://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/statistics/population-trends-2008-2013.

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 June or 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)

The Amish: A Concise Introduction book cover

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