America’s Amish are forced to change their lifestyle

The Amish are the fastest growing religious group in the United States. By 2050, there will be about 1 million Amish living in the country. Over half of all Amish settlements currently in the US were founded after 1990. Today, there are about a quarter of a million Amish living in the US and Canada. One of the reasons for such a rapid growth is that the Amish have the highest birth rates in the country. They raise their children strictly according to religious values, and their family traditions are not broken.

However, as their traditional farmland is getting scarcer more and more of them are forced to change the way they live and adopt to a new lifestyle.

Especially the younger Amish are leaving their traditional home states in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana and are moving west where land is still abundant. Some think that living in crowded areas disrupts their way of life and the values they keep. Parents are afraid that young Amish teenagers will integrate with non-Amish and get into more contact with drugs or alcohol.

traditional Amish farm

Traditional Amish farm

Today, more and more Amish are looking for alternative ways of making a living. Raising cows and sheep is simply no longer enough to survive. They are starting to open up small businesses, like producing furniture. Some have even started internet-based shops, a far cry from the typical Amish traditions. More than half of all Amish earn money from work outside agriculture. Though they still drive horses and buggies at home they use modern technology like cell phones and computers at work.

Many have become very successful and their businesses are booming. Studies show that they work harder than others and that the rate of failure is much lower than with non Amish companies.

Amish teenagers, who must leave school after eighth grade, are forced to look for work outside agriculture. Normally this means more income for the family, but it also represents a breach of culture and traditions.



  • abundant = plentiful, enough
  • according to = in a certain way
  • adopt to = change
  • agriculture = farming
  • birth rate = the number of babies born for every one thousand people
  • boom = to be successful
  • breach = break, stop
  • buggy = a light carriage pulled by a horse
  • business = company
  • crowded = where many people live on a small area of land
  • currently = right now
  • disrupt = disturb; get in the way of
  • especially = above all
  • far cry = very far away from
  • force = have to
  • found – founded = start something new
  • furniture = large objects ,like table, chairs, cupboards etc..
  • however = but
  • income = the money you get for the work you do
  • integrate = mix
  • outside= not in
  • raise = bring up
  • raise = to look after animals and feed them  so they can be sold as food
  • rapid = fast
  • rate of failure = the number of businesses that do not succeed or have to be closed
  • represent = stand for; show
  • scarce = limited; not enough
  • settlement = a group of houses where people live
  • strictly =  exactly
  • survive = to live on
  • thought = while
  • value =idea