Amish population grows, in Ohio and elsewhere
Doubling every 22 years and now nearly 250,000, population is projected to exceed 1 million by 2050By Brandon Blackwell Religion News Service
MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio — The Amish are one of the fastest-growing religious groups in North America, according to a new census by researchers at Ohio State University.
The study, released July 27 at the annual meeting of the Rural Sociological Society, suggests a new community sprouting every three and a half weeks.
Nearly 250,000 Amish live in the U.S. and Canada, and the population is expected to exceed 1 million around 2050.
The growth may not be visible outside Amish country, but the rural settlements definitely see the boom.
“This place has grown,” said Daniel Miller, 52, who has spent his life on an Amish settlement here. “It’s because of all of the kids.”
Many Amish families have multiple children, Miller said, adding that those children often stay in the community and eventually sprout families of their own.
There are currently 99 church districts, or communities, in Middlefield, which is east of Cleveland in central Northeast Ohio. Miller said he remembers when there were less than 20.
The Amish double their population about every 22 years, said Joseph Donnermeyer, the Ohio State professor who led the census project as part of the recent 2010 U.S. Religion Census.
The skyward growth has made Ohio home to more than 60,000 Amish residents — the most in any state. Pennsylvania ranks second with about 59,000 Amish people. Indiana ranks third with about 45,000.
Simple economics also has been a factor in the rising population, Donnermeyer said.
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