The Amish have been breeding themselves for plainness

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

The Amish population doubles every 20 years:

The North American Amish population grew by an estimated 195,710 since 2000, increasing from approximately 177,910 in 2000 to 373,620 in 2022, an increase of 110 percent. The Amish population doubles about every 20 years.


The primary forces driving the growth are sizable nuclear families (five or more children on average) and an average retention rate (Amish children who join the church as young adults) of 85 percent or more.

The Amish probably won’t pass 10 billion in the early 24th Century, Steve Sailer notes:

I wrote about the Amish in 2013, including the Cochran-Harpending theory that one reason their retention rate has gone up over the generations is because they have been boiling off Amish-born individuals with genomes that don’t put up well with the Amish lifestyle, that the Amish have been breeding themselves for their favorite trait: “plainness.”


  1. Eli says:

    The Amish of 2020 are not the Amish of 1960.

    Is “breeding for plainness” another term for “results of fundamentalist sect”? Consider the first steps in implementing the fundamentalist lifestyle start with pulling kids out of school, covering the womenfolk, and shunning an education.

  2. Gavin Longmuir says:

    “shunning an education.”

    I did not realize the Amish were all Ivy League graduates.

  3. W2 says:

    If they read the Bible and steer clear of college, they’re well educated. Won’t be many engineers or doctors among them, but we’d all be better off without most doctors.

  4. Bob Sykes says:

    Some years ago, the Columbus Dispatch published and analysis of Amish farm economics. Amish farms are substantially more profitable than conventional farms, despite the substantially lower yields.

    Amish profits depend on: (1) no powered machinery, (fuels, maintenance, capital investment); (2) no fertilizer (other than manure) or insecticides; (3) unpaid family labor and sharing labor with neighbors (barn raisings); cash only finances (no interest costs).

    It helps to live modestly and to be industrious, too.

    Amish (and Mennonite) farms have spread all across the Midwest from eastern Pennsylvania to western Iowa. Their population is rapidly expanding; they are the only white ethnic group with above replacement fertility.

    This is Darwinism writ large. The Amish are adaptive to their environment, which includes the wider economy and society. The low birthrate of other whites indicates they, their social practices, and their economic practices are not adaptive.

    Better learn “the Deutch.”

  5. Harry Jones says:

    I wonder what the Amish defense budget is?

  6. Jim says:

    Uneducated: “If they read the Bible and steer clear of college, they’re well educated. Won’t be many engineers or doctors among them, but we’d all be better off without most doctors.”

    No, you don’t understand. “Well-educated” doesn’t mean being steeped in a culture derived substantially from the Bible, it means having a piece of paper from an accredited institution given the stamp of approval by middle-class bureaucrats and lawyers.

  7. Jim says:

    Harry Jones: “I wonder what the Amish defense budget is?”

    You’re too smart to sincerely ask such an irrelevant question.

  8. Bomag says:

    I wonder what the Amish defense budget is?

    Teacher might have to step in here and explain it for us slow ones.

    I initially thought it a compliment: those who spend less on defense in the modern world have higher fertility and social cohesion.

    But maybe it’s a criticism: the Amish are drafting off the security provided by non-Amish.

  9. Harry Jones says:

    Defense is always relevant.

    No free ride lasts forever. The Amish survive and prosper in a terrarium created by the US government. Said government is looking shaky.

  10. Jim says:

    And Harry Jones, pray tell, how quickly and effectively do you think a group of hard-working, down-to-earth ethnic German agricultural folk can mobilize to secure their living space?

  11. Harry Jones says:

    Depends. How quickly can they give up their pacifism?

  12. Jim says:

    “ethnic German”

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