Amish Population Booming

Reclusive sect expanding into 28 states
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2008 11:30 AM CDT
A new study found states such as Missouri, Kentucky and Minnesota have seen increases in their Amish populations of more than 130 percent.    (AP Photo/Vinny Tennis )
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(Newser) – The booming Amish population has expanded far beyond its Pennsylvania Dutch country roots, drawn to new communities in a quest for cheap farmland, reports the AP. With more than 80% of its youth deciding to remain in the church, its numbers have soared from 123,000 in 1992 to 227,000 in 28 states, which now include Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Washington, and West Virginia.

"When we think they might be dying out or merely surviving, they are actually thriving," said an expert on the Amish, who reject modern technology in favor of horse-drawn carriages and rural living. While some new settlements clash with local officials over unfamiliar practices like building codes and zoning issues, their arrival can boost land prices, and they tend to put little stress on public resources like schooling and long-term care.