In U.S., Amish report staggering growth

The Amish are one of the fastest-growing religious groups in North America, according to a new census by researchers at Ohio State University.

The study, released July 27at the annual meeting of the Rural Sociological Society, suggests a new community sprouting every three and a half weeks, reports Religion News Service via the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland.

Nearly 250,000 Amish live in the U.S. and Canada, and the population is expected to exceed 1 million around 2050. The growth may not be visible outside Amish country, but the rural settlements definitely see the boom.

The Amish are a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish.

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