Where Are The Amish?

By Antonia Čirjak on January 15 2020 in Answer

An Amish family. Credit: George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com
An Amish family. Credit: George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

The Amish are a group of Christians with a very specific, traditional, and conservative way of life. They refuse to embrace the benefits of the modern age, mostly technology and choose to live a simple life. The origins of the Amish can be followed back to the Swiss-German Anabaptists. They are most often divided into two groups, the Old Order Amish and Amish Mennonites. Their population in the United States of America has dramatically increased during the 20th century.

A Brief History Of The Amish

The Amish originate from the Anabaptist movement of Christianity in Switzerland. The term Amish was first used as an insult by other Anabaptists to describe members of their group that decided to follow Jakob Ammann. The division between the members happened because of their disagreements on how they should treat the believers who weren’t behaving under a rigid set of rules. 

The migration of the Amish to the United States of America, most notably Pennsylvania, started in the early 18th century. That state was well known for its tolerance for different religions. The situation in Europe was beginning to escalate with religious conflicts happening and poverty rising, so the move was inevitable. The majority of the Amish settled in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. Later on, different groups continued to move to other parts of the United States.

The Amish Lifestyle And Beliefs

In religion, the main guidelines the Amish follow are the rejection of pride and arrogance, and the embracing of composure and tranquility. They follow group norms in their submission to the teachings of Jesus Christ and reject individuality. The Amish consider the community to be of the highest value and reject modern innovations that cater to the more individual lifestyle of recent times.

Their way of life is regulated “The Order,” and that set of rules can be different according to the Amish community or even district. The order controls everything, from clothing to use of technology. The Amish place high value on families and often have lots of children. They also admire hard work and consider it to be a gift from God. They dress in plain clothes and eat simple food.

Amish family working in the garden. Credit: Gabor Kovacs Photography / Shutterstock.com
Amish family working in the garden. Credit: Gabor Kovacs Photography / Shutterstock.com

The Amish Population Distribution

The Amish are divided into many subgroups, but in this article, we will be focusing solely on the main group, also known as the Old Order Amish. Since the early 20th century, their numbers in North America have grown from 5 000 to about 341 900 in 2019. The majority of the Amish live in the United States of America, more than 98%. The Highest number is situated in Pennsylvania, followed by Ohio, and Indiana. Lancaster County in Pennsylvania still holds the largest number of the Amish population, with almost 40 000 residents.

Other states with a large number of the Amish population include Wisconsin, New York, Michigan, Missouri, and Kentucky. The Amish communities demonstrate rapid growth, so it is continuously necessary to obtain farmland by forming new settlements. They most often populate more segregated areas or ones that are welcoming of their way of life.  A very small number of the Amish live in Canada, Latin America, while they completely disappeared from Europe. In Canada, the majority are situated across Ontario, while in Latin America, there are small numbers in Argentina and Bolivia.   

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