The Persistently High Fertility of a North American Population: A 25-Year Restudy of Parity among the Ohio Amish

Population Studies

Wasao, Samson, Cory Anderson, and Christian Mpody. 2021.


Research Points
  • A restudy of a Holmes County, Ohio-focused analysis (2015 vs. 1988 data) continues to find evidence supporting wealth flow, institutional, and ideological explanations for high Amish fertility levels.

  • Average parity declined slightly from 5.3 in 1988 to 4.85 in 2015, confirming a slow fertility decline within persistently high fertility.

  • The conservative Andy Weaver denomination had the highest fertility (5.43) but declined the most (-13.8%). Moderate Old Orders declined 10.4% to 4.66. More progressive New Orders increased 5% to 5.04 but are not necessarily more progressive than Old Orders anymore.

  • Farmers had a parity of 5.95 vs 4.45 for non-farmers while church leaders had 6.29 v. 4.57 for laity, confirming institution and ideology predict fertility levels.

  • Future Amish fertility research will decompose complex variables, apply rigorous methods, and incorporate larger data samples.

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