Amish population nearly doubles in 16 years

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) -- The Amish are expanding their presence in states far beyond Pennsylvania Dutch country. According to a new study by a Pennsylvania college, the Amish population has nearly doubled in the past 16 years, and they are searching for affordable farmland.

States such as Kentucky, Missouri, and Minnesota have seen increases in their Amish populations of more than 130 percent. According to researchers from Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, the Amish now number an estimated 227,000 nationwide, up from 123,000 in 1992. Over the same period, Amish settlements have been established in seven new states, putting them in at least 28 states from coast to coast.

Also known as Anabaptists, the Amish are Christians who reject most modern conveniences.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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