Ohio hosts the largest of number of Amish residents, and our lovely state of Pennsylvania ranks a close second. More than any other religious community, the Amish are spreading out across the nation more rapidly at a faster growth rate. According to the recent census, the Amish number 250,784 in this country, and 60,000 live in Ohio, while another 59,000 live here.
According to researchers, the Amish are doubling their population every two decades, for the very simple reason that they produce large families, and the vast majority of them remain within the local vicinity of their birth families. There is also little matriculation from the community to other religions. The growth is so fast, that one county in Ohio will easily have a majority of Amish within the next 15 years. The population in Holmes County is currently 42 percent Amish.
When we added on our kitchen upon moving here to Erie 10 years ago, we hired an Amish carpenter from Sherman, N.Y. to build our cabinets out of recycled cherrywood from our previous kitchen. Of course, the entire process is a story unto itself, but I remember the first time I went to his workshop in his barn that sat on the other side of his driveway. His oldest son, barefoot and barely in his teens, was sliding long planks through a rotary saw. I cringed a the danger. His other children scattered like marbles when I drove into the driveway and his very-pregnant wife stood in the doorway and waved shyly. I asked Andy how many kids he had. “Seven and one on the way,” he beamed. I asked him old he was.
He said, “30.”