Amish Population Profile, 2020

Population. The estimated population of the Amish of North America (adults and children) as of June 2020 is 350,665. This is an increase of approximately 8,765 since 2019. For a comparison of 2000 to 2020 population data, see Population Change 2000-2020 tables.

States and Provinces. North American Amish communities are located in 31 states and four Canadian provinces. Approximately 62.5 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, 33 new settlements (geographical communities) were established and seven existing settlements dissolved. New settlements are typically small, with only a few families in a single church district (congregation).

Fifty 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 2,537 in 2019 to 2,606 in 2020, an increase of 69 in the twelve-month period.

Population Trends, 2000-2020. The North American Amish population grew by an estimated 172,780 since 2000, increasing from approximately 177,885 in 2000 to 350,665 in 2020, an increase of 97 percent. See Population Change 2000-2020 tables for details. The Amish population doubles about every 20 years. Since 2000, the number of districts has grown from 1,335 to 2,606, an increase of 1,271 districts. The same period saw a net gain of 272 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 2020 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, 2020.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. http://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/statistics/amish-population-profile-2020.

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.

The Amish population statistics are updated annually in the summer. Other information is updated periodically.

For more in-depth discussion about the Amish:
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Authors: Donald Kraybill, Karen Johnson-Weiner, and Steven Nolt (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013; paperback, 2018)

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