Population Trends 2011-2016

5-Year Highlights

Population. The Amish of North America (adults and children) grew by an estimated 46,880 since 2011, increasing from approximately 261,150 in 2011 to 308,030 in 2016. See Population Change 2011-2016 tables for details. The Amish population has expanded 17.9 percent since 2011. It doubles about every 20 years.

States. The Amish have communities in 31 states and three Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island. They have established settlements in three new states (Idaho, Wyoming, and Vermont) and two new provinces (New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) since 2011. Sixty-three percent (almost two-thirds) of the Amish population lives in three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Combined, the ten states with the largest numbers of Amish have 92.2 percent of the total Amish population.

Settlements. Sixty-one new settlements (geographical communities) were established since 2011. 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 200 districts. (See Twelve Largest Settlements.)

Districts. Each district, or congregation, is typically composed of 20 to 40 families. Since 2011, the number of districts has grown from 1,913 to 2,259, an increase of 346 districts.

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.

Note: Settlement and district statistics were updated in June 2016. 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. The national composite average of people per district is 136. 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 by correspondents in Die Botschaft, The Budget, and The Diary; migration reports in The Diary; state and regional settlement directories; regional newsletters; and informants in various settlements.

To cite this page: “Amish Population Trends 2011-2016.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. http://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/statistics/population-trends-2011-2016.

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 the summer. 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; paperback available in January 2018)

The Amish: A Concise Introduction book cover

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