Thursday, July 24, 2014


I found a couple of posts on, an excellent website for informative posts on the Amish, dealing with the size of Amish families. always provides sources for the information in their articles.  So read on to discover more about the size of Amish families!

Largest Amish family ever?

With an average of around seven children, Amish families are hefty by modern standards.  Farm families tend to be the biggest.  A dozen or more children is not rare.  But the largest Amish family ever?  Read on to learn about one possibility:

John Troyer, who lived near Kokomo, Indiana, had an unusually large family, perhaps the largest of all time among the Amish or Mennonites.  John was first married to Catherine Schrock who bore him twelve children.  Following her death he married her cousin Caroline (Schrock) Kendall, a young widow with two children.  John and Caroline in turn had seventeen additional children.  This made a total of 31 children.

No word on whether John needed name tags to keep track of them all.

(Source:  Joseph Stoll, “Amish and Mennonite Family Names”, Family Life, March 1969)


How many children does an average Amish family have?

Amish families are large, with 6-7 and even up to 9 children on average

In contrast to modern society, an Amish couple expects to have a large family, and an Amish woman often becomes pregnant shortly after her wedding.  Amish view children as gifts from God, and thus the use of contraception is frowned upon.

However, birth control and other family planning methods may be practiced by some Amish, particularly in more progressive communities.  Yet Amish families remain large, with an agrarian tradition and a need for manual labor also supporting a high Amish birth rate.

Amish family size

Amish typically have between 6-8 children.  The number of children may vary by community, though 6 or 7 are often cited as averages for the Amish as a whole. 

Nolt and Meyers note a range of family sizes among Amish in Indiana, for example, with the Kokomo community averaging only 6 children, the Elkhart-Lagrange community 7, both Allen and Daviess counties with 8, and the Swiss Amish settlement at Adams County with a whopping 9 children per family (Amish Patchwork, Meyers and Nolt). 

A study by Hurst and McConnell found an average family size in Holmes County, Ohio of 5 children, though this figure includes families which have not completed their fertility cycle, and thus would be lower than one taking into account only completed families (Amish Paradox, Hurst and McConnell).

 However, due to varying factors which may include a shift away from farm work and greater openness among some Amish to family planning, Amish family sizes have in fact dipped slightly in some communities.




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