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Amish communities experience significant growth

Published: Monday, Aug. 6 2012 1:10 p.m. MDT

An Amish man attends to his horse and buggy in the parking area of a shopping plaza in Middlefield, Ohio on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011.  (Amy Sancetta, Associated Press) An Amish man attends to his horse and buggy in the parking area of a shopping plaza in Middlefield, Ohio on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. (Amy Sancetta, Associated Press)

Our take: According to a new study conducted by Ohio State University, "a new Amish community is founded every three and a half weeks." The growth is not from proselytizing, as the Amish do none, but comes from a low turnover rate and a high number of children born to families. The study also predicted that "at the current rate of growth the Amish population will exceed 1 million dispersed across over 1,000 settlements by 2050."

A new Ohio State University study of Amish communities in the United States and Ontario, Canada, shows explosive growth taking place in the insular Christian sect. On average, a new Amish community is founded every three and a half weeks.

The Amish do not proselytize, so the growth comes from having a lot of children and few members leaving their community.

"They're doubling their population about every 21 to 22 years, primarily because they produce large families and the vast majority of daughters and sons remain in the community as adults baptized into the faith, starting their own families and sustaining their religious beliefs and practices," said Joseph Donnermeyer, professor of rural sociology in Ohio State's School of Environment and Natural Resources, who led the census project.

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