ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa., Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Sociologists say high birth rates have helped thousands of Amish families expand to states beyond traditional settlements in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Since 1992, an estimated 11,600 Amish families have moved from rapidly suburbanized areas to states that still have cheap and isolated land, reported the Religion News Service in a story published Saturday in The Washington Post.
New communities have been founded in Maine, Colorado, Mississippi, Arkansas, Nebraska, Washington and West Virginia, said Donald B. Kraybill, an expert in Amish demographics at the Young Center for Anabaptist & Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa.
"The Amish feel the rural setting nourishes their way of life," Kraybill said, noting the Amish population grew 84 percent between 1992 and 2008 to 231,000 Amish adults and children living in 28 states.
The Amish believe the Bible calls them to keep separate from the world and to refrain from using modern technology, such as cars and computers, Kraybill said.