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The Amish (and other), population growth, and effects on society


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As time passes, will not the Amish and other groups that have many children become a bigger percentage of the population?  How long will it take?  If so, what effects will this have on society?  Will it have a positive effect on global warming (if we have not already destroyed the planet) because they don’t use electricity and cars? Will their lifestyle carry over into the rest of society?  Will it have an impact on which products are sold, what cities and towns look like, our entertainment?  Will it impact what politicians talk about and promise?  Which groups, other than the Amish have a high number of children?

 

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I’m under the impression from I don’t know where that only about half of the Amish choose to get baptized in the church. And less and less with the advent of technology.

But yes, the whole concept of quiverfull is to have as many kids as possible and change culture that way, so you might see dominionism increase… at least until more of the kids realize it’s an abusive culture and leave that too.

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34 minutes ago, Teaching3bears said:

As time passes, will not the Amish and other groups that have many children become a bigger percentage of the population?  How long will it take?  If so, what effects will this have on society?  Will it have a positive effect on global warming (if we have not already destroyed the planet) because they don’t use electricity and cars? Will their lifestyle carry over into the rest of society?  Will it have an impact on which products are sold, what cities and towns look like, our entertainment?  Will it impact what politicians talk about and promise?  Which groups, other than the Amish have a high number of children?

 

I've read that the Amish are running out of land. 

This is morbid but in the pre-modern era, sickness kept the population from getting too large. Parents had many kids but didn't have to provide for all of them in childhood and then provide a livelihood in adulthood because some of the children would die. 

ETA this article. As Amish Leave Farming For Other Work, Some Leave Their Homestead

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25 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I've read that the Amish are running out of land. 

This is morbid but in the pre-modern era, sickness kept the population from getting too large. Parents had many kids but didn't have to provide for all of them in childhood and then provide a livelihood in adulthood because some of the children would die. 

ETA this article. As Amish Leave Farming For Other Work, Some Leave Their Homestead

If they run out of land, why can’t they buy more?

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33 minutes ago, Katy said:

I’m under the impression from I don’t know where that only about half of the Amish choose to get baptized in the church. And less and less with the advent of technology.

But yes, the whole concept of quiverfull is to have as many kids as possible and change culture that way, so you might see dominionism increase… at least until more of the kids realize it’s an abusive culture and leave that too.

Is quiverful more common in certain groups or areas of the country?

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Climate change is happening on a scale which is far too rapid for any group to influence it by population growth, even assuming a particular group did grow significantly over time.

If we had all been Amish and skipped the industrial revolution over the last two centuries, then yeah, okay. We're past that point now.

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49 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

The Amish have been around for a long time. I haven't noticed them having much of an impact on anything. Except puppy mills. 😠

Yes, so many puppy mills. And the auction houses are full of their horses that they run into the ground and then sell for slaughter.

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58 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I've read that the Amish are running out of land. 

This is morbid but in the pre-modern era, sickness kept the population from getting too large. Parents had many kids but didn't have to provide for all of them in childhood and then provide a livelihood in adulthood because some of the children would die. 

ETA this article. As Amish Leave Farming For Other Work, Some Leave Their Homestead

There are some pretty high rates of unique (and sometimes fatal) genetic conditions that crop up in this population due to the founder effect. I wonder how much this influences the birth rate, particularly if some families choose not to have more children (with or without official sanction). I know that some do rely on genetic screening when they consider whom to marry.

34 minutes ago, Teaching3bears said:

If they run out of land, why can’t they buy more?

They form church districts by number and geography, so they tend to stay local to each other or buy land in new areas and make planned migrations with enough people to form a church district. 

They do fan out from places where there are large populations--many Amish in PA have moved north in the last 20 or 30 years to take over farmland as conventional farmers retire and sell out (often to developers if there are no Amish). 

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2 hours ago, Teaching3bears said:

Is quiverful more common in certain groups or areas of the country?

Certain Jewish groups such as the Hasidic are another group that practice this I believe, although I don’t know that they use the term quiver full. I think their influence in terms of population is far greater in Israel than it ever will be in the US. 

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2 hours ago, Frances said:

Certain Jewish groups such as the Hasidic are another group that practice this I believe, although I don’t know that they use the term quiver full. I think their influence in terms of population is far greater in Israel than it ever will be in the US. 

I think this is becoming a huge problem in Israel. The Haredi population in Israel is increasing due to their large families. The Haredim are exempted from the draft. They have their own state subsidized schools but there is no requirement that they teach secular subjects. They receive government subsidies for religious study instead of working. Even though they're the minority, they get to control everything religious such as marriages. This would be like if the Amish had control over our marriages even though we're not Amish. It means that people have to leave the country to get married if one of the parties isn't considered Jewish according to the ultra-orthodox. Many of the Russians who have emigrated to Israel since the fall of the USSR are not considered to be Jewish by the ultra-orthodox. Now they're starting to question the Jewishness of Americans who want to get married in Israel because most American Jews are not Orthodox. I read a story about an American who had to trace her maternal lineage back to Europe to prove that every mother had been born to a Jewish woman. 

It can be a problem in the US too. There are communities which are completely isolated from wider society even in the middle of New York City. The schools don't teach secular subjects and the children don't learn to fluent English. I understand why these communities want to isolate their children but it makes it very difficult for people to leave the community. How do you leave when you don't read English? 

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5 hours ago, Teaching3bears said:

If they run out of land, why can’t they buy more?

My neighbors are Amish (they bought my "Englishman" neighbor's land) and I see horses and buggies every day. Around here we say that you never ever want to go up against the Amish in an auction of land. Some Amish guys once assembled some furniture in my house (when we lived in the country and had acreage) and they were definitely interested in our land.

There is only so much farmland to go around, even here. Almost every piece of farmland (from what I can tell) is already owned by someone. The Amish have money to spend, but they have to wait for the land to go up for sale when someone downsizes or moves or passes away.

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7 hours ago, MercyA said:

My neighbors are Amish (they bought my "Englishman" neighbor's land) and I see horses and buggies every day. Around here we say that you never ever want to go up against the Amish in an auction of land. Some Amish guys once assembled some furniture in my house (when we lived in the country and had acreage) and they were definitely interested in our land.

There is only so much farmland to go around, even here. Almost every piece of farmland (from what I can tell) is already owned by someone. The Amish have money to spend, but they have to wait for the land to go up for sale when someone downsizes or moves or passes away.

Yep—there isn’t more land to buy. We aren’t talking a small 15 acre hobby farm, but hundreds, even thousands of acres.  Mostly we have Old Order Mennonite families here but some Amish clusters.  Many are being forced away from agricultural based jobs, which is having a profound effect on some of the Amish precepts.  It’s difficult to run a construction business without a cell phone, for example, and the Amish who work in favorites are among the English all day instead of their own sect.  

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Here, large corporate farms bid higher for land than the Amish can pay, so they are running out of land. But, their bigger issue is related to the fact that they are so inbred after centuries of pretty much no conversions to the sect, that they have a 1:4 rate of significant genetic disease in offspring, most of whom are significantly unhealthy if not very disabled and will not marry and have offspring in the future. Some have been particularly hard hit with multiple children having significant disabilities. No one converts to Amish really, so they do not have "new blood" as the saying goes. They have high fetal/infant and maternal death rate because they severely limit modern prenatal care , god's will and all, high rates of severe injury and death from accidents, and the local group refuses to put any lights on their buggies and wagons, just one single reflector, but won't stay off these country, unlit roads at night so usually two or three times a year, a buggy gets hit and whole families get wiped out. This group is most certainly not growing.

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6 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

Here, large corporate farms bid higher for land than the Amish can pay, so they are running out of land. But, their bigger issue is related to the fact that they are so inbred after centuries of pretty much no conversions to the sect, that they have a 1:4 rate of significant genetic disease in offspring, most of whom are significantly unhealthy if not very disabled and will not marry and have offspring in the future. Some have been particularly hard hit with multiple children having significant disabilities. No one converts to Amish really, so they do not have "new blood" as the saying goes. They have high fetal/infant and maternal death rate because they severely limit modern prenatal care , god's will and all, high rates of severe injury and death from accidents, and the local group refuses to put any lights on their buggies and wagons, just one single reflector, but won't stay off these country, unlit roads at night so usually two or three times a year, a buggy gets hit and whole families get wiped out. This group is most certainly not growing.

I wonder why they don’t have a big gathering once every year or so for different communities to mingle, just for this genetic reason.  Surely that would help. 

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1 minute ago, HeartString said:

I wonder why they don’t have a big gathering once every year or so for different communities to mingle, just for this genetic reason.  Surely that would help. 

The problem you have is that the population of Amish in this country came from a small number of families to begin with, and without conversion of other families to the religion, the Amish from Lancaster are many generations of 1st cousin marriage and half brother/sister marriage (very much allowed within Amish society until the 1900's) all intertwined for hundreds of years. Mingling with Amish from Lehman Ohio is just mingling with people whose genetics are pretty darn tight to their own. The communities themselves are very closely, genetically related. This has also happened in the Hutterite communities of Canada. Cohen's disease is one genetic disorder that is profoundly rare in the general population, less than 100 cases per year among non-Amish, but 20-30 cases per year among Amish whose population is roughly less than 300,000 in the states. Though for now, large families may spur growth on paper it is predicted to decline significantly as so many children will not be having children in the future and those that do will have even more unhealthy children.

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31 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

Here, large corporate farms bid higher for land than the Amish can pay, so they are running out of land. But, their bigger issue is related to the fact that they are so inbred after centuries of pretty much no conversions to the sect, that they have a 1:4 rate of significant genetic disease in offspring, most of whom are significantly unhealthy if not very disabled and will not marry and have offspring in the future. Some have been particularly hard hit with multiple children having significant disabilities. No one converts to Amish really, so they do not have "new blood" as the saying goes. They have high fetal/infant and maternal death rate because they severely limit modern prenatal care , god's will and all, high rates of severe injury and death from accidents, and the local group refuses to put any lights on their buggies and wagons, just one single reflector, but won't stay off these country, unlit roads at night so usually two or three times a year, a buggy gets hit and whole families get wiped out. This group is most certainly not growing.

Same here with the buggy accidents, and lots of farming accidents involving young kids, too.

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15 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

The problem you have is that the population of Amish in this country came from a small number of families to begin with, and without conversion of other families to the religion, the Amish from Lancaster are many generations of 1st cousin marriage and half brother/sister marriage (very much allowed within Amish society until the 1900's) all intertwined for hundreds of years. Mingling with Amish from Lehman Ohio is just mingling with people whose genetics are pretty darn tight to their own. The communities themselves are very closely, genetically related. This has also happened in the Hutterite communities of Canada. Cohen's disease is one genetic disorder that is profoundly rare in the general population, less than 100 cases per year among non-Amish, but 20-30 cases per year among Amish whose population is roughly less than 300,000 in the states. Though for now, large families may spur growth on paper it is predicted to decline significantly as so many children will not be having children in the future and those that do will have even more unhealthy children.

And for that reason they are much more likely to die out altogether than to take over the world. 

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I've never lived around the Amish but so I have no personal experience but have heard some bad stories from people who grew up around them. We romanticize them. They're exempted from many regulations because of their beliefs. They don't believe in insurance. I've read some heartbreaking stories of child abuse. 

They illustrate the tension of freedom of religion vs the rights of children. They are allowed to not educate their children which makes it very difficult for their children to succeed in the world outside of their communities. 

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My hometown area has a large Mennonite population. I looked up land prices in the town that has traditionally been old order Mennonite, and I found ONE 2.79 acre piece of farmland for sale. At $115k. Established 2-3 acre mini farms start at about 500k and go up from there. Most of the land offerings were 80k .33 acre lots which were connected to utilities in new subdivisions, and I'm willing to bet that 2.79 acre piece of land will be chopped up into smaller lots if it is at all accessible. 10-15 acre farms are well over a million. This is an area that is really too hilly and rocky for planting, and the primary commercial ag product is turkeys. 

 

 

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The Amish seem to be generally successful in Maine. Our farms here are small —appropriate for family farms instead of the industrial farmland of the Midwest—and inexpensive. Their lifestyle fits well within the rural New England fabric—quiet, keep to yourself, community minded, make do and all of that, and the services that they provide are very much appropriate for the communities in which they are established. The only altercations I hear about are between cars and buggies.

The Amish are one of the only groups of people that is growing in northern Maine. Like most states, our rural areas are struggling to remain populated; I guess if they want to live where others don’t and can make use of the land, it seems like a win-win. 
 

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1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I've never lived around the Amish but so I have no personal experience but have heard some bad stories from people who grew up around them. We romanticize them. They're exempted from many regulations because of their beliefs. They don't believe in insurance. I've read some heartbreaking stories of child abuse. 

They illustrate the tension of freedom of religion vs the rights of children. They are allowed to not educate their children which makes it very difficult for their children to succeed in the world outside of their communities. 

Your ignorance is showing.

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3 hours ago, HeartString said:

I wonder why they don’t have a big gathering once every year or so for different communities to mingle, just for this genetic reason.  Surely that would help. 

I think there are some Amish that take this seriously and do rely on geneticists, etc. 

I am pretty sure a number of them also foster/adopt, and this might result in some fresh DNA as these kids grow up. 

1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I've never lived around the Amish but so I have no personal experience but have heard some bad stories from people who grew up around them. We romanticize them. They're exempted from many regulations because of their beliefs. They don't believe in insurance. I've read some heartbreaking stories of child abuse. 

They illustrate the tension of freedom of religion vs the rights of children. They are allowed to not educate their children which makes it very difficult for their children to succeed in the world outside of their communities. 

Like every group, there are wide variations. There are Amish that drive cars and allow higher education. 

There are individuals of many different cultures that don't believe in insurance (that's how a lot of these health share companies got started), and there are plenty of people who do that don't bother to get it or to make estate plans or a will. 

The Amish do a lot of fundraising for people in need in their community. I believe these events are often supported by outsiders and by the larger Anabaptist community (Mennonites, etc.) in areas where those communities mingle. 

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2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I've never lived around the Amish but so I have no personal experience but have heard some bad stories from people who grew up around them. We romanticize them. They're exempted from many regulations because of their beliefs. They don't believe in insurance. I've read some heartbreaking stories of child abuse. 

They illustrate the tension of freedom of religion vs the rights of children. They are allowed to not educate their children which makes it very difficult for their children to succeed in the world outside of their communities. 

Here, some Amish have been incarcerated for s*xual abuse of both children and animals (yes, animals...).

Someone who has worked on the cases said that they believe this type of abuse is quite rampant, but the closed nature of the community makes it extremely difficult for victims to seek help.

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2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I've never lived around the Amish but so I have no personal experience but have heard some bad stories from people who grew up around them. We romanticize them. They're exempted from many regulations because of their beliefs. They don't believe in insurance. I've read some heartbreaking stories of child abuse. 

They illustrate the tension of freedom of religion vs the rights of children. They are allowed to not educate their children which makes it very difficult for their children to succeed in the world outside of their communities. 

My husband and I both grew up around the Amish. While it’s true that they only do school through eight grade, the men generally learn to farm or learn a trade. I don’t think it’s generally true that a young man who left would not be able to succeed due to lack of work. Obviously it would be a huge adjustment for a variety of reasons. But job openings for young men who are willing to work hard are plentiful.

I think your view on religious freedom vs rights of the children might be more applicable to the Haredi and I believe we had a thread about this previously. Their generally poor education of their children makes it difficult for them to be self supporting either in the community or to leave. But unlike the Amish, they often turn to government safety net programs to raise their large families. They also have a political influence, at least in their communities and somewhat more broadly, that the Amish do not choose to pursue.

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The other thing to keep in mind-Rod and Staff and CLE are both anabaptist programs. Even kids who don't go past 8th grade usually have a pretty solid foundation, and likely could get a GED with some focused work. 

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The (Mennonite) families I have the closest interaction with are through their farmer’s market. In that group of families, yes, I have found their math skills to be quite rough, even with the aid of calculators.  It doesn’t bother me so much that some people aren’t great at math, but it does irk me that this large group doesn’t appear to put much focus on teaching pretty basic math for the purpose of money handling at their business.

They also don’t follow sanitary food practices, but I buy their barbecue chicken once in a blue moon anyway because it’s THAT good. And pay the extra buck or two for the miscalculations. Again, it’s that good!

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48 minutes ago, Frances said:

My husband and I both grew up around the Amish. While it’s true that they only do school through eight grade, the men generally learn to farm or learn a trade. I don’t think it’s generally true that a young man who left would not be able to succeed due to lack of work. Obviously it would be a huge adjustment for a variety of reasons. But job openings for young men who are willing to work hard are plentiful.

I think your view on religious freedom vs rights of the children might be more applicable to the Haredi and I believe we had a thread about this previously. Their generally poor education of their children makes it difficult for them to be self supporting either in the community or to leave. But unlike the Amish, they often turn to government safety net programs to raise their large families. They also have a political influence, at least in their communities and somewhat more broadly, that the Amish do not choose to pursue.

It kind of is true. Around here, no high school diploma, no job. Trade licensing is academic and requires fluency, and the ability to take such tests well. They do not know the information. The GED requires algebra 1, some formal writing, life science that isn't included in the curriculum, and some social science topics they are not exposed to. The students from the local K8 Mennonite school which covers more curriculum than the Amish do are not able to pass the GED forcing parents to homeschool the boys for two years of usually Christian Light high school curriculum, or place them in P.S.

Job openings here are not offered to young men just because they have a work ethic and a knowledge of basic tools and home repair. The lack of knowledge of building codes, lack of diploma, lack of licensing, and lack of other life and academic experience plus lack of English reading fluency due to not beginning education in English until age ten, means minimum wage, hoeing corn and such are all that is available to them, and if they want to leave the sect, $9 an hour during the agricultural season does not pay rent, transportation, food, and utilities.

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12 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

The (Mennonite) families I have the closest interaction with are through their farmer’s market. In that group of families, yes, I have found their math skills to be quite rough, even with the aid of calculators.  It doesn’t bother me so much that some people aren’t great at math, but it does irk me that this large group doesn’t appear to put much focus on teaching pretty basic math for the purpose of money handling at their business.

They also don’t follow sanitary food practices, but I buy their barbecue chicken once in a blue moon anyway because it’s THAT good. And pay the extra buck or two for the miscalculations. Again, it’s that good!

Around here they have no knowledge of county and state health codes. They are just too isolated. And yes, many do now use solar calculators due to poor arithmetic skills, and I still often have to tell the younger, less experienced adults how to make change. Without a cash register, and being young and not having handled much money, they are lost. Now that said, I have a few newbie teens at McDonalds have that problem as well. So it is not unique only to Amish and Old Order Mennonite. But it is, in my area, super duper common among these two religious groups but not among our local high schoolers.

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49 minutes ago, Dmmetler said:

The other thing to keep in mind-Rod and Staff and CLE are both anabaptist programs. Even kids who don't go past 8th grade usually have a pretty solid foundation, and likely could get a GED with some focused work. 

When allowed. But you have to understand, that bishops have all the power in these groups and many of them are old, don't ever change the status quo, dudes. Rod and Staff and CLE were written for New Order Mennonites, the denomination that has colleges, like Eastern Mennonite and Goshen College, not Old Order.

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17 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

It kind of is true. Around here, no high school diploma, no job. Trade licensing is academic and requires fluency, and the ability to take such tests well. They do not know the information. The GED requires algebra 1, some formal writing, life science that isn't included in the curriculum, and some social science topics they are not exposed to. The students from the local K8 Mennonite school which covers more curriculum than the Amish do are not able to pass the GED forcing parents to homeschool the boys for two years of usually Christian Light high school curriculum, or place them in P.S.

Job openings here are not offered to young men just because they have a work ethic and a knowledge of basic tools and home repair. The lack of knowledge of building codes, lack of diploma, lack of licensing, and lack of other life and academic experience plus lack of English reading fluency due to not beginning education in English until age ten, means minimum wage, hoeing corn and such are all that is available to them, and if they want to leave the sect, $9 an hour during the agricultural season does not pay rent, transportation, food, and utilities.

I suppose it depends on the area. Both where I grew up and around here, at a minimum the type of jobs available to undocumented workers would be available to them, in construction, agriculture, and forestry. Also, many farmers here would provide housing to a good worker and I don’t mean farm worker housing. I mean an actual house. There is a very serious shortage of workers here for anything that involves physical labor, skilled or unskilled. Where I grew up, someone willing to milk cows twice per day would be very sought after.

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5 minutes ago, Frances said:

I suppose it depends on the area. Both where I grew up and around here, at a minimum the type of jobs available to undocumented workers would be available to them, in construction, agriculture, and forestry. Also, many farmers here would provide housing to a good worker and I don’t mean farm worker housing. I mean an actual house. There is a very serious shortage of workers here for anything that involves physical labor, skilled or unskilled. Where I grew up, someone willing to milk cows twice per day would be very sought after.

See that is not the case here. The undocumented worker conditions are very, very poor. I am sure, the U.S. being culturally a bit unique by region, plays into this. Dairy work here is also pretty technical, and hands will not be hired unless they are familiar with the equipment, and have significant knowledge of bovine nutrition, etc. It is not uncommon for many do the local dairy hands to have taken some courses at MSU in the Ag department, and the 4H graduates have first dibs on all the good agriculture jobs. No 4H or FFA? That person is detassling corn for peanuts, hoeing corn, getting paid very low, and treated like crap. 

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The Amish store/bakery/restaurant  near me is exceedingly clean. It literally is the cleanest place I have ever been to. My friend grew up and still lives among them…..I would not say it is accurate that the ones she knows are unsanitary or have poor math skills. 

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2 hours ago, Faith-manor said:

See that is not the case here. The undocumented worker conditions are very, very poor. I am sure, the U.S. being culturally a bit unique by region, plays into this. Dairy work here is also pretty technical, and hands will not be hired unless they are familiar with the equipment, and have significant knowledge of bovine nutrition, etc. It is not uncommon for many do the local dairy hands to have taken some courses at MSU in the Ag department, and the 4H graduates have first dibs on all the good agriculture jobs. No 4H or FFA? That person is detassling corn for peanuts, hoeing corn, getting paid very low, and treated like crap. 

It’s hard to imagine that a single one of the dairy farmers I know where I grew up is hiring immigrants with that kind of dairy experience, unless they acquired it at another dairy farm there. Is unemployment high where you live? It’s very low both here and where I grew up. Literally every single farmer and business owner I know would be more than happy to hire a hard worker with common sense who would actually show up every day, regardless of skill level. They are more than happy to train the right person.

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7 hours ago, Faith-manor said:

The problem you have is that the population of Amish in this country came from a small number of families to begin with, and without conversion of other families to the religion, the Amish from Lancaster are many generations of 1st cousin marriage and half brother/sister marriage (very much allowed within Amish society until the 1900's) all intertwined for hundreds of years. Mingling with Amish from Lehman Ohio is just mingling with people whose genetics are pretty darn tight to their own. The communities themselves are very closely, genetically related. This has also happened in the Hutterite communities of Canada. Cohen's disease is one genetic disorder that is profoundly rare in the general population, less than 100 cases per year among non-Amish, but 20-30 cases per year among Amish whose population is roughly less than 300,000 in the states. Though for now, large families may spur growth on paper it is predicted to decline significantly as so many children will not be having children in the future and those that do will have even more unhealthy children.

Thanks for explaining!  

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9 minutes ago, Frances said:

It’s hard to imagine that a single one of the dairy farmers I know where I grew up is hiring immigrants with that kind of dairy experience, unless they acquired it at another dairy farm there. Is unemployment high where you live? It’s very low both here and where I grew up. Literally every single farmer and business owner I know would be more than happy to hire a hard worker with common sense, regardless of skill level. They are more than happy to train the right person.

No, the issue here is that farming is largely now huge corporate, high tech style farming. Family farms are pretty well gone. Everything is high tech. Automatic systems that have to be programmed, computers in barns, dairy operations milk massive herds, automated and run by techie people. Immigrants only do seasonal work that is low paid, picking fruit, hoeing. Amish and Old Order Mennonites are very poorly educated, and especially the Amish, only just functionally literate in English. Without more education, which no corporate farm is willing to provide, there isn't a basis for training them for the technology. They also have almost no background in heavy machinery, and haven't driven cars, can't remain Amish and study for and get a driver's license, so no one is willing to take the risk of training them to drive machines and vehicles on these farms. Dairy herds are managed by firemen, assistant foremen, and a crew of knowledgeable people, usually former 4H and FFA students with extensive experience as well as college classes, associates degree in agriculture, and he's in agriculture. There is some work for those who are poorly educated or very backward socially in a high tech environment, but again too low paid for anyone to survive on at least trying to live year round in a place where a heating bill can be upwards of $500 a month not to mention electric, the required internet for shift schedule posting, cell phone, and transportation. So we do some Amish young men working off their family farms hoeing, fruit harvest, weeding gardens for folks, etc. But agriculture has come a long way, and frankly, immigrant workers here have some relevant experience in corporate farm culture, and regardless of whether or not they have legal licenses, can drive heavy machinery, and often have quite a bit of experience with mechanical/small/large engine repair which useful. That is something the local Amish do not have. 

Again, we are also talking about a community that is extremely insular so what young men are exposed to is so limited, that fitting in and working well in a high tech secular environment is a huge barrier. Combined with the lack of numeracy and literacy that would make it possible for them to be quickly trained to enter data into computers, program milking equipment, use computerized machinery, make nutritional supplement calculations (they have almost no knowledge of the metric system, but the immigrants tend to be well versed in both Imperial and Metrics), they are not considered a good bet for employment, and the worry is that even if one took the risk, the environment would overwhelm the job candidate, and he would run back home to mama and papa which has happened on many an occasion. Waste of time and training dollars foe the farm operation. The local farming operations are too many generations of applicable knowledge and technology from the strict Amish and Mennonite farms to make young men, and combined with poor education, it is more than the farm owners/companies are willing to bear.

The family farm is going extinct. Some are hobby farms, the kids raising animals for 4H and keeping horses, parents working off farm in jobs with benefits. But, the huge, bureaucratic farm is the norm now, thousands of acres, massive herds, or just huge cash crop farms with very, very, very few personnel, mostly seasonal. These places have blanket hiring requirements for anything that pays over $9.00 an hour, high school diploma (most do not accept the GED) is the starting point, driver's license, and proof of transportation next.

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6 hours ago, Meriwether said:

Your ignorance is showing.

I don’t think so.  I know someone who wasn’t baptized because of the abuse she suffered as a child. She joined a mennonite church instead.  I don’t think abuse is any more prevalent than in any insular community controlled by religion where education is looked down upon, but it definitely happens frequently.

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

The Amish store/bakery/restaurant  near me is exceedingly clean. It literally is the cleanest place I have ever been to. My friend grew up and still lives among them…..I would not say it is accurate that the ones she knows are unsanitary or have poor math skills. 

Restaurants have higher legal requirements and regular inspections. PA farmer’s markets can typically get away with the equivalent of a cottage license.  
You’re unlikely to learn that a commercial kitchen has cats that like to bask outside with the breads while they’re cooling for packaging. Sweet farmer, but I sure do miss buying his wife’s breakfast bread since he told me that!

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I know corporate farming is taking over in some places, we see a bit of it here. It’s not at all a thing where I grew up because the land isn’t suited for it. Many dairy farms where I grew up employ immigrants. In general, even the young people who barely graduated high school or didn’t graduate do not want to stay in the area and work on a farm. Hence, the need for immigrant labor. As for the driving, I thought we were talking about young people who left the Amish? It’s hard to imagine most would not be trying to learn to drive as soon as possible although they would likely not have the same initial skills as most immigrants. I would also guess that most who leave wouldn’t not be trying to live without housemates, just as most young people starting out cannot afford to live on their own. COL might still be an issue here, definitely not where I grew up.

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11 minutes ago, Frances said:

I know corporate farming is taking over in some places, we see a bit of it here. It’s not at all a thing where I grew up because the land isn’t suited for it. Many dairy farms where I grew up employ immigrants. In general, even the young people who barely graduated high school or didn’t graduate do not want to stay in the area and work on a farm. Hence, the need for immigrant labor. As for the driving, I thought we were talking about young people who left the Amish? It’s hard to imagine most would not be trying to learn to drive as soon as possible although they would likely not have the same initial skills as most immigrants. I would also guess that most who leave wouldn’t not be trying to live without housemates, just as most young people starting out cannot afford to live on their own. COL might still be an issue here, definitely not where I grew up.

It is harder here. The written test and fees, and the driver has to either take driver's education which has a book class that meets for many, many hours, or wait until after the age of 18, and take the written exam then get a driving permit, drive for a minimum of 30 days with another licensed driver, and then take the road exam which is $85 and easy to fail the first time. You have to provide your own vehicle, which is examined by the instructor and can be rejected if they think it is unsafe or just not in good enough working order for a variety of reasons, and proof of insurance which is NOT cheap in Michigan which is a no fault state and the highest cost of auto insurance in all 50 states. The barriers to getting that insurance are not small, and if 18 and over, requires a lot to documents of citizenship to obtain,  birth certificate plus state ID or passport which they do not possess, plus proof of state residence which is not just any mail, but limited to doctor or hospital bills to that residence, utility bill, and bank statements, or high school diploma, and a social security number which the local Amish parents do not get for their children. The Amish here birth at home so most of the young adults do not have birth certificates. It pretty much knocks them out of the work force among secular employers and makes them undocumented which means very low wages, poor pay, no protections, and still trying to get jobs against people who know how to drive amongst many other things they do not know. COL in terms of rent is low. But auto insurance, renters insurance, and transportation costs are very high. So when they leave the community/run away, they don't have resources, and they also do not have the community of other undocumented workers to help them get going. They have no documents and no means to obtain them because they might be citizens, but no registered birth, and no parents willing to go on record because they have shunned their kid. Social services refuses to help them. They have enough on their hands without trying to figure out how to help Amish deconverters. They have no natural contacts with other renters who might take them on as roommates, and no credit rating. Here, there is literally not one thing for rent anymore that isn't a lease with credit checks, proof of bank account balances, etc. It would probably be easier for them to go to college and live in dorms except they aren't eligible for aid because they don't exist on paper in any country, couldn't pass an entrance exam, and still have to figure out how navigate a crazy complex system with zero exposure. There is a reason the young men don't leave. They can't. It is abuse, plain and simple. And eerily similar to the sovereign citizen movement that tries to keep their kids from being documented and without resources so they cannot leave.

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47 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

Amish and Old Order Mennonites are very poorly educated, and especially the Amish, only just functionally literate in English.

 

48 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

Again, we are also talking about a community that is extremely insular so what young men are exposed to is so limited, that fitting in and working well in a high tech secular environment is a huge barrier. Combined with the lack of numeracy and literacy that would make it possible for them to be quickly trained to enter data into computers, program milking equipment, use computerized machinery, make nutritional supplement calculations (they have almost no knowledge of the metric system, but the immigrants tend to be well versed in both Imperial and Metrics), they are not considered a good bet for employment,

It sounds like your area has an unusually strict sect of Amish. Is this it? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swartzentruber_Amish  I get the impression that they are sort of set apart even from among other Amish and Anabaptist groups as being fringe (even if a large group). 

I don't have great source material for this idea, just more of a sense of what I've heard over time.

I have heard, in the past, grim, gallows humor jokes about this group and traffic accidents because those who have to avoid them on the road without proper visibility get pretty stressed out about it. 

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1 minute ago, kbutton said:

 

It sounds like your area has an unusually strict sect of Amish. Is this it? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swartzentruber_Amish  I get the impression that they are sort of set apart even from among other Amish and Anabaptist groups as being fringe (even if a large group). 

I don't have great source material for this idea, just more of a sense of what I've heard over time.

I have heard, in the past, grim, gallows humor jokes about this group and traffic accidents because those who have to avoid them on the road without proper visibility get pretty stressed out about it. 

I am not sure if that is the exact group. However, if you Google education Amish and sex abuse Amish, you find a frightening number of investigative news articles, many out of Lancaster, PA, Lehman/Millersburg area of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota too. It is more widespread in Amish life than many think it is. I don't think they are set apart because when they have weddings, vans from Ohio come pouring in. Apparently, they are quite willing to pay for an "English" to rent a van and charge per seat for transport.

For what it is worth, when dh had a brief stint of employment in northern Indiana, we lived near Goshen college, north of Shipshewana. The Amish community there allowed radios in buggies, trolling motors on fishing boats, and few other fun things in order to try to keep their young people in the community. We saw some things that made us go 🤔. They did not appear to be as strict, but when dealing first hand we saw the effects of poor education, and that was back in 1989. I knew a bunch of the faculty at the college and they made no secret of what they thought about Amish education, and were already quite open about the rampant animal and child abuse. They have a way they are when everyone is looking, just like a lot of humans, and a way they are behind closed doors. I don't think they are any different from any other cult. Isolation, lack of accountability, extreme religion above rationality, and standard human nature means corruption. Same old same old.

I don't like the gallows humor around the accidents. I am sick to freaking death of children suffering and dying for the folly of their parents' cult beliefs. It is actually illegal in my township for anyone to ride a horse on public roads because of the danger. But damn it! They go out in those their carriages with whole families, after dark, no lights, and often times running stop signs because on unlighted roads and no headlights, they lose sight of the signs themselves. The buggy is no match for the pick up trucks everyone drives around here, and a whole lot of the time, the driver of the vehicle is NOT at fault in the accident, but can get very hurt or killed as well because hitting a horse makes hitting a deer seem like nothing! 

But I do get why some people engage in that humor because the anger, tension, and frustration is real, and sometimes people vent steam that way. Just not my cup o tea.

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I read this fascinating book, Runaway Amish Girl.  I grew up around the Amish, but didn't know the side of it that this girl experienced until reading the book.  Their practices do vary by group/sect/however they refer to it.  Some of the practices that she described were completely bizarre and definitely controlling and abusive.  The neighbor that she reached out to initially told her that he had promised her father that he would tell him if any of his kids tried to escape.  Eventually, the neighbor did connect her with a family that helped her leave.  I definitely see the Amish in a different light now, although the folks at the market in my town are very pleasant.  I will say that I reported them last year for wearing face masks made out lace.  I haven't been back much since covid for that reason.  

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The Amish won't do well without the rides from neighbors, the cell phones some of them have or using a neighbors phone, chemicals used on their farms, modern health care, grocery stores etc. They have continued need for large amounts of inexpensive land without much zoning. These are all part of current very conservative Amish culture in our area.

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To clarify, Amish are not against electricity phones, etc on their own merits - it has to go with how it influences the lifestyle of the community. So it really does make sense to get a ride for something, but not have a car for most things. At least as much sense as many religious things do, lol. 

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