Richelle J. Gibbons
NUR 209 Clinical
Gogebic Community College

The Amish are a group of traditionalists Christian church fellowships, closely related to but distinct from Mennonite churches, with whom they share Swiss Anabaptists origins. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress and reluctance to adopt modern convenience. 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. Around the early 18th century many Amish and Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons. Today, the most traditional descendants of the Amish continue to speak Pennsylvania German, also known as "Pennsylvania Dutch," although a dialect of Swiss German is used by Old Order Amish in the Adams County, Indiana area. As of 2000, over 165,000 Old Order Amish live in the United States and about 1,500 live in Canada. A 2008 study suggested their numbers have increased to 227,000, and in 2010 a study suggested their population had grown by 10 percent in the past two years to 249,000, with increasing movement to the West. Unlike most Americans who have had a birthrate too low to maintain the population since the early 1970s, most of the Amish continue to have 6-7 children while benefiting from the major decrease in infant and maternal mortality in the 20th century. Between 1992 and 2013, the Amish population increased by 120%, while the US population increased by only 23%. The Amish often work as homemakers, quilters, builders, and farmers.
Christian beliefs characterize the Amish worldview. Their convictions are virtually the same as that of the Mennonites and other religious reformers. They believe in the importance of individual Bible study and the necessity of living a life free of sin after adult baptism, which they are usually baptized between ages 16-20. The Amish are primarily set apart from other Mennonites in their...