The Real Reason The Amish Population Is Doubling In Size

The Amish have been in the United States since the mid-1700s and have lived alongside the rest of Americans since then, PBS reports. Over the ensuing centuries, American society has evolved and progressed both culturally and technologically, while the Amish have stuck to their own communities. They steadfastly avoid mixing with "the English" — as they call non-Amish — as much as is humanly possible and eschew modern technology, lest it result in entanglements with "English" society. This divide has resulted in the community developing a reputation of being technologically backward, and indeed, in some ways, their communities are like living tourist attractions. "English" will converge on Amish communities to gawk at their horses and buggies and simple dress, and sometimes buy merchandise.

You might think that a society that eschews air conditioning, cars, the internet, and other modern conveniences would be shrinking quickly. However, the Amish population in the United States is growing. And according to Anabaptist World, in some communities, the population has nearly doubled over the last couple of decades.

All of those Amish babies

Before proceeding any further in this discussion, it bears noting that there is no one group of Amish. There are multiple communities, each of which will tolerate varying amounts of modern entanglement, including some who drive cars! But for the remainder of this article, we'll be discussing the "Old Order Amish" — that is, the plain-dress, horse-and-buggy Amish communities.

According to Anabaptist World, the Old Order Amish are experiencing explosive growth, having doubled their population in the past 20 years. And the publication notes that the trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. One reason for this is that many Amish tend to have large families. Indeed, the average number of children born to an Amish couple is five, with other communities preferring even larger families (although it bears noting that some communities stick to small families). With big families and many children remaining in the community, the faction is not shrinking but growing.

The Amish are on the move

As the size of the Amish community increases, says Anabaptist World, so, too, does the number of places in which members of the Christian group make their home. Indeed, states with traditionally smaller numbers of Amish, such as Missouri and Wisconsin, are seeing increases in their Amish populations. That's not problematic, necessarily — the Amish and the "English" have more or less gotten along for two centuries. But it will mean that, for example, doctors in those states may soon be seeing Amish patients, and public schools in those places may have Amish children enrolled in them.

Interestingly, the Amish seem to be drawn to colder climes. Summers are more forgiving further north, which is a boon for people who eschew air conditioning. Further, there's a basically limitless supply of frozen lakes and rivers from which ice can be harvested, providing a natural means of cooling butchered meat. In addition, the climate there is more suited to dairy farming, which has traditionally been a means for some Amish families to make a living.