Amish People Today and Why They Continue to Thrive

Amish People Today and Why They Continue to Thrive

I love the Amish.  Everything about them screams of sustainability and self-preservation!  There is much to learn from these amazing folks, let’s learn more about self-sufficiency with “Amish People Today and Why They Continue to Thrive”!

Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio

Holmes County and Amish People 

I discovered the Amish about 25 years ago, when we were trying to get out of debt and get our finances in order. 

If you aren’t familiar with the Amish, they are a fascinating group of people who escaped religious persecution in Switzerland and Germany to migrate to the United States in the early 18th century. They initially settled in Pennsylvania, although other waves of immigrants became established in New York, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Holmes County, Ohio.  Holmes County is home to the second-largest sect of Amish in the nation.

They are often referred to as “simple” people who all dress and wear their hair pretty much the same according to their church “order”.

They are a very hardworking population and largely take care of themselves and their elderly, as they opt out of social security benefits.

Two or three generations often live on one homestead so that grandparents can help with the children as the parents are working in the fields or otherwise.

While all of that might sound a bit counter-cultural, this Amish way of life is exactly why they have been able to thrive for centuries, without modern conveniences.

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clothesline in Amish country

The Amish Lifestyle is Simple Living

Most of the homes are very large, to allow for large and extended families. While there are a few exceptions, for the most part, there is little variance in the design and construction of their homes.

If you spend any time in an Amish community, you will quickly see the similarities between their homes and yards. Every single home has a clothesline, with clothes hanging out to dry very early in the morning.

Every home has a large vegetable garden, grape arbor and flower garden.

“Order” would be the word I would use to describe an Amish home.

Everything is in its place and certain “must-haves” don’t seem to be optional.

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Amish home and garden

Our family has visited “Amish Country” here in Ohio many, many times over the years, and I always learn something new.

During our trips, I’ve gone to every field trip I could find, asked a lot of questions, and bought every book I could get my hands on about the Amish. Some of my favorite Amish destinations were the ones that allowed a tour through the “Old Order” homes and the “New Order” homes to compare the differences.

If you are into sustainability, the Amish are the masters!  Let’s look more into the Amish daily life!


Amish People are Entrepreneurs 

Like many persecuted sects in history, the Amish have found ways to provide for themselves within their community.  They trade and barter, however, they also do some business with the “English”, those who are non-Amish.  It’s been a while since farming was the Amish’s main source of income, and so they’ve turned to tourism.

When you visit Holmes county, there are fabulous bed and breakfasts as well as gorgeous cabins to stay in, but be prepared to make reservations far in advance, the bests places are sometimes booked a year out.  This is because Amish country is very popular during the fall and many try to visit during “peak color” seasons.

amish bed and breakfast

Up and down the main arteries of Berlin and Millersburg, Ohio, you will see Amish restaurants, bed and breakfasts, craft/souvenirs and quilt shops everywhere.  You will also see tons of roadside stands!  Many of the businesses are either Amish-owned or Amish-run, and much of what is sold is also Amish-made.  Whenever you enter an Amish business, you’ll likely see bakery items being offered.  The Amish are incredible bakers!

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amish made lawn chairs

Amish people are particularly known for their craftsmanship, especially with wood.  Again, there are shops everywhere offering Amish-made rocking chairs and furniture.  Our family purchased a custom, Amish-made dining room set about 8 years ago, for our large family.  It wasn’t cheap, but it’s an heirloom that will stay in our family for many generations to come.

Amish country has wonderful bulk food stores, where I often stock up big-time! 

I’ll buy #50-100 of wheat berries at a time, as well as sugar and other non-perishables that are so reasonably priced there!  You know the prices are good when you see other Amish ladies shopping there as well!

The point that I’m trying to make is that the Amish have created a niche for themselves and make an excellent living in and for their community. 

They desire autonomy to practice their religion the way they choose and secure it by taking care of themselves financially.

horse and buggy on road in from of farm

Amish Traditions and Multi-Generational Living

Many cultures do this, and sadly I think it’s something that we’ve largely forgotten in this country.

In the last 50 years or so, manufacturing plants and corporations have moved all over the nation, taking jobs with them.  People rarely work where they grew up, most of us are transplants from somewhere else.  As a result, families are separated and unable to help each other.

If you dig a little deeper into it, you’ll realize that this separation of the family contributes to massive consumerism, because needs like child care and homemaking that could be available from extended family members now must be outsourced and purchased.  Not to mention the fact that each family has to sustain an entirely separate household, instead of sharing expenses within one household.

The Amish place tremendous value on their elderly, as we all should.  The older generation brings wisdom in terms of skills, business, farming and raising the next generation.

Working through differences and embracing their heritage keeps the family unit strong and effective.  Co-habitation is just one more way the Amish thrive during bad economic times!


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The Amish Build their Own Homes with Specific Sustainable Designs

The Amish build their own homes to maintain their sustainable lifestyles.  Kitchens are large to keep up with cooking and preserving food for growing families.  Bedrooms are small and primarily for sleeping.  Gardens are a critical part of the family’s menu and are close to the house.  Children are taught to work in the garden at a young age.

Again, clotheslines are close to the house as they are an important part of home keeping.

Predictability and consistency would be words I would use to describe an Amish home.  There isn’t any sort of personal style that is incorporated into their homes, that isn’t something that the Amish embrace.  All is done for the good of their faith and community.

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amish home and clothesline

Amish Beliefs About Electricity

Amish people believe that those wires carrying electricity bring sin into their homes and they do not allow it. 

Now, don’t misunderstand, because some do use gas motors and other forms of power, depending upon what order they are part of.  Some are allowed to use telephones off of their property.  But by and large, the Amish live “off-grid” and are very good at it.

Cheese is one of the Amish’s most popular products, and if you visit, you’ll see a lot of cheese stores.  The reason for an abundance of Amish cheese is due to the fact that without refrigeration, milk spoils and something must be made of it!  Cheese is the answer!

The quality of their cheese is unmatched, partly because of the quality of the milk being used for the cheese.  Most Amish farmers do not use pesticides or chemicals (although most are not certified organic) and so the cows graze on healthy, chemical-free grass.  Amish cheese-makers also use time-honored methods and don’t rush the process.  Gussisberg Cheese, one of the larger cheese shops, has large windows so that you can watch cheese being made, it’s pretty cool.

If you’re wondering where the Amish shop, Lehman’s is a “non-electric” store that was founded in Holmes County. 

There you will find all types of oil lamps, candles, wood stoves, books, water pumps and a zillion ways to maintain an “off grid” lifestyle.  We’ve been there and it’s one amazing place!

homemade bread and eggs Amish People Maintain Low Personal Overhead

The pressure we feel to stay in a job or career that we hate is due to bills, right? 

Well, another way the Amish thrive during bad economic times is that they are masters at keeping their overhead at a minimum. 

They build their own homes, using labor from not only family, but also community. 

Building supplies are likely secured through intimate ties within the community, and through bartering.

This alone eliminates a mortgage and electricity payment. 

Amish people do not carry insurance of any kind, that I’m aware of, eliminating another bill. 

They grow their own food, they make their own clothes and they provide their own entertainment.

Of course, the Amish use money and purchase things, but as you can see, their overhead is much lower than the average American.

We could all learn a lot from the way the Amish run their homes!

amish quilt blue


Amish Lifestyle is Recession-Proof

If you are truly interested in a sustainable lifestyle, you need to check out an Amish community.  I have never regretted the time I’ve spent up there.

Again, fall is a gorgeous time to visit and I recommend staying a whole weekend.  Go to the attractions, ask questions and definitely visit Lehman’s.

You’ll be more sustainable just for having been there!



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This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Amish Heart

    Thanks for the kind words about the Amish. My Amish relatives are in a smaller community in Yoder, Kansas.

    1. Kelly

      Absolutely! Thanks for reading!

  2. Michelle

    This was really interesting to read. I live in southwest Missouri and we have an Amish community in our area. We had a new metal roof put on our house last year and it was done by an Amish family. Young men scampered around our steeply-pitched roof like mountain goats, and a young man of about 13 drove the sky-lift like a pro, even carefully maneuvering around my fruits trees. They were supervised by their grandfather. It was really neat to watch them work together and they did a great job for us.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Michelle! Did you know that the Amish finish school in 8th grade and go on an apprenticeship with their father or another relative? They learn very early to take care of themselves and the family by working. An Amish man built a building for us after he chicken-scratched the plans out on a crumbled piece of paper! That building is better built than my home!

  3. Pat

    I live in WV but have visited Holmes County many times. I love it! We always try to go for a couple of days in the middle of the week as most things shut down for the weekend at 5pm on Fri. Lehmans is well worth the drive to the next county and for anyone who is interested,they have a great mail order catalog.

    1. Kelly

      Thanks for mentioning that they close down for weekends, I completely forgot about that! Have you ever visited the Amish community in Lancaster, PA? I hope to get there one of these days.

      1. MP

        Amish country in PA is wonderful! (At least it was 20+ years ago…..

        1. Kelly

          Hi MP,

          I haven’t been there yet, I obviously need to get there!!

        2. Joan

          Yes I’m from that area..the homes there are built the same except one difference..they all have green have to buy at least 20 acre’s or 30 acres to move into the community and be Amish.. they have a community telephone in the 🌅 middle of a corn leave a dime in a cup there to use it. It’s a while nother world .a world 🌎 d love to live in..I was told you can convert but it won’t makes learning working cash and being able study I think it takes years .I love it in Lancaster and climax as well .the movie for richer or poorer with Tim Allen was shot in my home town and in Lancaster and in climax..if you ever get a chance to visit meet or purchase items from the it .you might find yourself not wanting to leave♥️🙏

          1. Kelly

            Hey Joan,

            Thanks for your comment, I couldn’t agree more!

  4. Deborah

    My favorite books are about the Amish. I love their way of life. Wish I’d grown up Amish.

    1. Kelly

      Hey Deborah,

      I know, me too!!! Oh well, I guess we’re going to have to be sustainable as “English” folk! (that’s what the Amish called those who are not Amish).

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Connie from oklahoma

    Good read! Simple is better! We can enjoy life more!

    1. Kelly

      Hi Connie! Yes, absolutely!

  6. Judy

    Judy from Kentucky
    Enjoyed the read! As I am getting older I have been thinking of cleaning out this house. The Amish have more time for family when they aren’t taking care of so much stuff. Thank you for sharing your adventures! I am inspired!

    1. Kelly

      Hi Judy! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, the Amish have so much to teach our consumer culture!

      1. Kelley

        I live a few minutes from Holmes county, when I moved here I was so surprised how much the Amish in the area use technology, cell phones, and shop at places like Walmart, Target and other local grocery stores…my sister has lived in the area for 30+ years and has seen such a change in what the orders around here allow…

        1. Kelly Morris


          I’ve noticed that as well! Pretty weird, I think some of the orders have loosened up the rules, but I’m not sure. Great observation!

  7. Vicki

    Hello Kelly,
    I love your post. Would love to see more post of the Amish.
    Unfortunately the Amish are very often miss understood by us English. I can full heartedly say yes the amish are truley amazing and the most smart, loyal, caring, respectful, Independent and hard working people u could come across. Only if us english lived as the amish do. Our lives would be much simpler and the world would be a much better place. I live a short few miles from amish country in the thumb of Michigan and I absolutely love watching the amish go down the road with their horses pulling them in their buggies.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Vicki!
      I couldn’t agree more! Their systems work and have for hundreds of years! I’ll try to work on more posts about them!

  8. Karen Feger

    My mother was born & raised in Lancaster PA and even when my parents married and moved south to Maryland we spent a lot of time in the Amish country markets. Took a 2 hour drive at least once every 60 days to do our grocery shopping as the freshly butchered meat, fresh produce in the summer and the baked goods could not be matched in our area. I’m now in my 60s and my children and their families live in Amish country. My son appreciates the homesteading lifestyle and very little dependence on Government and consumerism and my daughter and husband appreciate the slower pace of country life. I live in Florida now and still make quarterly trips to Amish country to fill my freezer with goodies, just like my mom used to do. I’ve learned to can, ferment/pickle and bake like the Amish do and I love it! If you do make it to Lancaster County PA for a visit, make sure you stop by Kitchen Kettle Village for some smoked meat, cheeses, jams & relishes and of course Lapps Farm for fresh ice cream and to visit the farm animals.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Karen, It’s great to hear from another Amish fan! One of these days, I’ve got to get to Lancaster!!! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Rosina

    Thank you for this interesting article about Amish people and their lifestyle. I’d love to live like them and my dream was always to be able to live with my family in a sustainable and autonomous way, but unfortunately we live in Europe and lots of my family members are scattered in different countries. Not to mention that the system doesn’t make things easy if you want to live off-grid and it takes care to make you pay taxes or obey unjust laws that leave you more and more dependent on it. But who knows, I don’t lose my hope, maybe we will be able in a near future to live more like Amish as this system clearly is falling down. Thank you again for this lovely article.

    1. Kelly Morris

      Hey Rosina! Thank you so much for your insights, I learned a lot just trying to imagine what life is like in Europe. Stay positive and keep learning, I hope you get to fulfill your Amish dream!

  10. Drewww

    The Amish people know what’s up. Thank you for this article

  11. Emma Lyndaker

    Thank you for your kind words about the Amish. After growing up as an Amish girl,. I do love this simple and quiet lifestyle.I grew up in a family of 11 kids, and we were so happy as a large family. My siblings were, and still are, my best friends. We did work hard, but we also had time for leisure, and spend time with friends and many relatives. I fell in love with, and married a Mennonite man. Our lifestyle is still much the same as growing up, only with electricity and cars. The beliefs of the Amish are based on the word of God, and living out your faith in everyday life. Obviously, the application of that varies from from one group to another. It also varies somewhat from different areas of the country. Of course, you can put this all in practice without being Amish! Thank you again, I enjoyed reading your post.

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