A Demographic Profile of the Greater Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Amish


  • Joseph F. Donnermeyer School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University




age of first marriage, age-sex pyramid, Amish, Lancaster County, occupations, wedding day, wedding month


This article provides a demographic profile of the Amish in the Greater Lancaster County settlement, the oldest extant community and the largest in the world today. A dataset, based on a sample of about one in five households (N = 1,494), was developed from the 2015 directory for the Greater Lancaster settlement. The data is summarized along 10 major topics, including widows and widowers, ordained men, occupations of men, age at first marriage, most popular months for weddings, most popular days for weddings, number of children, birth intervals, stillbirths and infant deaths, and age and sex distribution of the population. The results are compared with the findings from a study of the Lancaster County Amish by Elmer Lewis Smith, published in 1960, that includes selected population statistics from the first half of the twentieth century and information that goes back to the final decade of the nineteenth century. The findings show a great deal of demographic stability; that is, trends in such demographic features as family size show only small, incremental changes. Only infant mortality and the occupations of men have shifted significantly. The article concludes by discussing the need for additional demographic research utilizing directories from other communities, large and small, old and new, and of different Amish groups based on the relative conservatism vs. progressivism of their church disciplines.