USA Today ran a report today talking about the increase in the Amish population in America. They grew by 5% last year, but there has been a consistent upward trend the last few years, as well as a westward trend.
This report is interesting to me, as I have deep roots in the Amish community. My dad’s parents were born, raised and married in the Amish church, and my dad was born while their family was still in the Amish church. I claim sometimes, much to my wife’s chagrin, that I’m half-Amish, due to my dad being born Amish. (As an interesting side note, a couple years ago, my grandparents were interviewed by a local news station for their perspective on an Amish-related story, during which they briefly shared why they left the Amish church. The video seems not to be working anymore, but it makes me smile to read the transcript as I can hear my grandparents saying those words.)
When I heard that they had 5% growth last year, I was surprised that was an increase. Amish families are often quite large. My grandma was one of thirteen children in her Amish family. It seems like it wouldn’t take a lot to have a 5% growth for an Amish community.
While I don’t think my Texas friends will have to worry about buggies congesting the roadways anytime soon (only 75 Amish in the state of Texas this year), it is interesting that the Amish are moving across the country. There are Amish in Florida, Texas and South Dakota. I’m looking forward to hearing about the first one to move to Alaska or Hawaii.
If you noticed near the end, one Amish man had bought a restaurant and a potato chip factory. While there are plenty of Amish who own bakeries or restaurants, I’d venture to say he’s the first to own a potato chip factory. Where I grew up, the Amish were tougher than most places, as the buggies I passed everyday were without a cover. When it rained, they often had big umbrellas they held up, but still got quite wet, I’m sure. Weather didn’t stop them from going places, it just made it more difficult. They abide by their customs and laws to a T. I just can’t imagine that owning a potato chip factory would fit inside that structure.
Still, the growth and westward expansion of the Amish population is interesting. Now I know to keep my eyes open when I’m here in Texas for my relatives.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you when you start noticing a new kind of droppings on your roads, wherever you are in the United States.