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Indiana is a bigger Amish state than you think

September 10, 2010

How much longer until Indiana eclipses Pennsylvania and Ohio as an Amish center?

People in the Indianapolis area don’t see many Amish, but a new study by the Indiana Business Research Center shows Indiana already has a higher concentration than Pennsylvania or any other state.

Pennsylvania and Ohio each have more than 24,000 members of the denomination, and Indiana has 19,000, says the IBRC, which is part of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. But Amish make up 0.32 percent of Indiana’s population. That’s way more than the 0.22 percent in Ohio and the 0.21 percent in Pennsylvania.

In Indiana, most are in traditional northeastern and north-central strongholds, but pockets exist in other areas, too. The county with the third-largest Amish population, Daviess, adjoins Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center between Bloomington and Evansville.

More Amish have been moving to the state as developers bid up land prices in states farther east. Not only is land cheaper here, but the climate is suitable—not too hot, not too cold—for the dairies Amish farmers often operate.

The research organization cautions that its numbers only count the denomination of Old Order Amish Mennonites due to availability of data. If other branches of the group that came to America from Switzerland in the 1700s were included, the picture might look different.

What are your thoughts about the Amish? Any trips planned to Shipshewana or points nearby?

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