A Population Profile of the Amish in Michigan


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




completed fertility, sex ratio, age-sex pyramid, birth order, occupations


This article is a review of settlement development and population characteristics of the Amish living in the state of Michigan. After a number of failed attempts to start communities in Michigan prior to 1970, the Amish presence has continued to grow. Today, Michigan is one of five states that host at least 50 settlements. Hostetler’s (1980) theory of limited possibilities is used to interpret both the failed attempts before 1970 and the sustained growth since 1970. Through data collected from the 2019 directory of Amish households, various population characteristics are discussed. These characteristics compare Amish living in Old Order, Swiss, and other conservative settlements. For the most part, there are minor demographic differences among the three groups, with the exception of the occupations of men. Old Order men are less likely to be involved in farming when compared to men from Swiss and other conservative groups. Overall, the Amish in Michigan, like Amish throughout North America, are a high fertility group, which is illustrated both by the completed fertility of women who are 45 years of age and over and by the age-sex population pyramids for the three groups.