Saturday, August 23, 2008

Amish booming; have communities in 28 states

"America’s Amish population has nearly doubled and spread out in the past 16 years due to large families ... marriages within the community and longer lifespans," the Reuters wire service reports. (Photo by Jason Reed)

Donald Kraybill of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, an expert on the Amish, found that their population is booming because they insist on marrying within their religious communities, have an average of five or six children and retain more youth than other groups -- perhaps because 90 percent have Amish-only schools available to them. Kraybill said his study included all Amish groups that use only horse and buggy transportation and claim the name Amish, but excluded Mennonites, who broke from the Amish in 1693.

"Amish numbers more than doubled in 10 states, and there was an 82 percent increase in the number of Amish communities throughout the United States," Jon Hurdle writes for Reuters. "There are now Amish communities in 28 U.S. states. In Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, the three states that together have most of the Amish population, their share of the total Amish population fell to 62 percent this year from 69 percent in 1992. They have been drawn to other states by fertile farmland at reasonable prices, work in specialized occupations such as cabinet-making or construction, and rural isolation that allows them to maintain their lifestyle, according to the study."

The next five states in Amish population are Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Missouri and Kentucky. For a state-by-state count from Elizabethtown's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, click here. Kraybill is senior fellow at the center, an excellent source of information about the Amish and related groups.

1 comment:

kieran50 said...

im 51. would like to break free. from Ireland.. live humble life... need guidance,,, my 5 kids are reared... my wife im divorcing... im quiet man. she changed.. been assaulted over 10years.. need peace...want to leave quickly and quietly had enough. thanks. kieran. Ireland. please help.