Amish Population In Wisconsin

Accoding to Amish Studies, we have over 16,200 Amish here in the state of Wisconsin making it the 4th largest state by population in the United States. With a retention rate of approximately 80%, the Amish population will continue to grow significantly. Most assume Pennsylvania has the largest in population due to the popularity of Lancaster County, however, it does in fact come in 2nd after Ohio's slightly larger number.


Family sizes average between 7 - 10 children and typically by the age of 18, most decide to join the church. Notice the photo of the farm below in Kingston, WI. The house to the left of the barn is much larger than most homes. This farmhouse may accomodate 10 or more children. 

Click the image to enlarge.

This fall in Markesan, WI, there will be 8 young adults joining the church. Those 8 will most likely marry within the next few years and have children shortly after that, increasing the population significantly in such a small area of the state.  

In speaking with David Miller, an Amishman from Pardeeville, WI, I learned the majority of Wisconsin Amish relocated from Indiana. The buggy you see above is an Indiana-style buggy.

Old Order Amish make up the majority of the Wisconsin Amish population

There are many different subgroups within the Amish including the Beachy Amish, New Order Amish, Old Order Amish, and Swartzentruber. The most common subgroup here in Wisconsin is the Old Order Amish. The term "Old Order Amish" originated in Ohio around 1878, and is a title used to distinguish between the conservative and the more progressive Amish - the Beachy Amish and New Order Amish.

Old Order Amish continue to use horses and buggies for transportation while the more progressive groups do drive cars. Old Order Amish do not allow electricity or telephones in their homes but some are granted cell phone usage for their business. My Amish friend in Markesan has access to a telephone at her neighbors home in a phone shanty. Old Order Amish do not worship in church buildings, but take turns meeting in their homes. They dress plain in order to stay separate from the world. For the most part, they provide their own food with farming, make their own clothes, and build their own homes. When most people think of the Amish, the Old Order Amish frequently come to mind.  

Another subgroup found in Loyal and Neillsville, Wisconsin are the Swartzentruber Amish. The Swartzentruber Amish are similar to the Old Order Amish, however, they are considerably more traditional. They would be regarded as an ultraconservative group that live without indoor plumbing, appliances, or even windshields on their buggies. These items are considered 'worldly possessions' that the Swartzentruber Amish forgo. Their homes will appear unkempt and their gardens lacking in color. You will not find the orange safety Slow-Moving Vehicle triangle on the back of an Swartzentruber Amish buggy so motorists in the area have to pay special attention at night. This is also a worldly-possession that they feel interrupts God's Will. 

Amish Safety Road Signs and Amish Tracks

Amish settlements here in Wisconsin are not always discernible. In fact, unless you are watching closely, you may not even know the farm you just passed was Amish. The most common way to tell that you are in Amish country is watching for the WI DOT Amish Safety Road Signs. Use caution and reduce your speed when traveling on these roads, especially on hills. Do not sound your horn when near a buggy. This will avoid spooking the horse. There is no telling how accustomed the horse is to sharing the road with vehicles. Most Amish will slow down and move closer to the shoulder if they feel it is safe for you to pass. Quite often they will wave, but remember to not sound your horn. 

Another way you can tell if you are in Amish country is Amish tracks. Of course this is not a technical term. This is just an expression my family and I use to describe a horses emissions. Smile

Amish in Wisconsin features a Maps category where you will be able to use Google Maps to find locations that we come across during our Amishing. (Again, this is not a technical term, it is a verb we made up that has quickly caught on with family and friends.) As time goes on, we will continue to add locations. An example of the Maps category can be seen here. Simply click on a location (blue pin) and a box will open up with the name of the location, type of business, hours, and exact address.

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