New research shows diversity among US Amish groups

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A new book says conservative Amish groups are having larger families than other Amish and their children are far less likely to leave the church.

The book by Elizabethtown College Amish expert Don Kraybill and two other scholars shows that members of the Christian sect can have sharp differences in civic engagement, farming practices, and the use of modern technology.

Local church groups of a few dozen families determine congregational lifestyle rules. There’s no single authority that brings together the 2,056 churches located in 30 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario.

The researchers say that more traditional Amish have families of nine or 10 children, while comparatively progressive families are just over half that size. That suggests some are using methods of birth control.

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