How the Ohio Amish Baby Boom Subjected the Amish to Unemployment in the 2010s
One does not expect the Amish to become unemployed, because these people have their own farms in their families for several generations.However, in 2012, research compiled by The Ohio State University indicated that so many Amish were born in the 1990s and 2000s that their communities did not have enough farms or other land on which for them to live.
This was true across the United States, but most pronouncedly so in Holmes County, Ohio. Before mid-century, the number of Amish individuals would outnumber the non-Amish residents in that county. Simultaneously, a new Amish community was found to begin somewhere inn the US every 2.5 weeks. This is enormous growth in the place of previous beliefs that the Amish were declining in numbers.
Overall, the 2010s found an influx of greater numbers of Hispanic and Islamic residents, along with growing numbers of Amish. Native American groups also grew appreciably in the 2000s and 2010s. Definitely, the population trend of America was away from the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) majority of the mid-20th Century.
In addition, the Amish unable to love and work on farms were unemployed and needed work. In a society where schooling ended after the 8th grade, this was not an easy problem to solve.
Amish Country, Ohio
Links To Map Above
- Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center Berlin, Ohio
- Schrock's Amish Farm and Village - Visit us for unique shopping and exciting Amish attractions!
Come experience the great shops of Shcrocks Amish Farm and Village in Berlin Ohio, and enjoy the farm life with a tour of an Amish home and an authentic buggy ride!
The Center of Holmes County
Holmes County is home to the largest Amish population in the world and that population is growing almost too quickly.
The Village of Millersburg is the county seat and center of Holmes County, named after the large Miller Family that emigrated to Ohio from Europe and on to Pennsylvania before arriving here. One of my great grandparents had the surname Miller and may have been related to the larger component of Millers in Pennsylvania. A friend in Michigan has the maiden name of Miller and may be a distant relative as well. A lot of Millers have traveled through Pennsylvania to the Midwest!
Berlin Township in Ohio is the other notable Amish community in the county and the largest for tourism. Walnut Creek Township is a smaller community that offers an interesting number of Amish dining and food and/or gift shopping options.
The entire county of Holmes has a population of only 42,000 as of Census2010, but is growing almost too quickly to measure. In fact, 36,000 residents in and around the Holmes County area ("Amish Country, Ohio") are reported to be Amish as of 2012. The traditional living arrangement has been for young marrieds to settle a portion of the family farm or to receive acreage from one of a number of farms owned by an intergenerational family. Surprisingly, our Amish citizens are running out of land.
If the option of farming as a career for a newly married Amish couple is removed by a lack of land, then the growing population among communities that are Amish can look forward to problems of earning a livelihood and finding dwelling places.
In Holmes County, formal education for the Amish extend only through the 8th grade, just short of high school. Certainly, individuals continue to learn practical knowledge from working in Amish communities day to day, but employers of all kinds in Ohio have indicated throughout my career in workforce development that they need workers, on average, that can read at the 10th grade level and perform math at the 9th grade level as minimum requirements. This presents a problem to Amish citizens that may need to find work outside the Amish community.
Working outside the Amish community and returning each evening may result in other difficulties as well. Transportation is the first barrier to employment, if there are no bus lines near the Amish community. Some workers might use the family horse and buggy if the outfit was not needed by the other family members every day. Bicycles, of course, present a good alternative in better weather. Automobile ownership is not permitted, but the Amish can ride with friends or even drive a car that is not their own, this carpooling may even be an option in some instances. I am wondering how many Amish workers might walk several miles back and forth to work.
Finding jobs in the outside world for which Amish life provides usable skill sets may be problematic. However, the Amish have intense skills in a variety of fields, including agriculture, animal husbandry, furniture making, baking and cooking, sewing, quilting, and a number of others. Amish communities are also likely the last bastions of blacksmithing. Alternative energy is also a part of Amish life, from gasoline generators and natural gas appliances, to wind turbines. The Amish do have transferable skills.
Customs and Etiquette
Working outside the Amish community may result in clashes of customs and related misunderstandings at first, but some Holmes County Amish residents already do work outside of the community. Working on Sundays is likely not possible for the Amish, for example. Differences in clothing and language among the Amish and the outside community at work may also present some obstacles. Taking a photograph for an ID card would present a big problem (See the Etiquette links below).
Working on their own farmlands, the Amish do not pay Social Security tax or purchase health insurance, but they do pay income and property taxes and similar. It will be interesting to see how the non-purchase of health insurance squares with President Obama's healthcare plan that requires such purchases.
Amish farmers and craftsmen working in their communities are not covered by programs such as Workers Compensation or Unemployment Insurance, so the younger Amish that marry and cannot be given a place to live or farmland to manage will not be covered by the Unemployment system. They will simply lack income altogether. The larger Amish community bands together to help its members when they need healthcare and other aide. However, the lack of adequate farmland under the increasing growth of the population will place additional financial burdens on the Amish communities of Holmes County and other areas of the country, mainly in Indiana and Pennsylvania.
It is possible that county employment offices near Amish communities may act as liaisons in the near future for connecting the Amish with employment in the outside world. These agencies would provide job search and placement options and appropriate orientation and training for both employers and their Amish new-hires, along with other offerings. These employment offices have served minority groups in the past, as well as veterans, single parents, senior citizens and other groups, and may be the best hope for the newly unemployed Amish that our nation has not been expecting.
See Amish Etiquette
Amish Country is within 1.5 to 2 Hours of Many Major Cities
Agriculture Produces Income
Amish families continue to produce income through selling the products of their farmlands and livestock.
U-Pick Farms and Sales In Amish Country
The Farmer's Flower and Produce Auction in Mt. Hope -- In season, during each spring, summer and autumn, weekly wholesale auction sales are held for sweet- and horse corn, hay, livestock, fire wood and other items. More occasional sales are held for draft horses, cows, and other livestock and farm items throughout the year. This particular auction site is a popular place.
The Amish come to buy and sell, but all are welcomed to attend the sales. Grocers usually being a semi-truck. Individuals and families can often find someone with whom to split a large unit of produce. Most people have a good time at these auctions. The address is below and scheduled sales are available at the website.
- 7701 Ohio 241; Millersburg, OH 44654. Phone:330-674-7661
- Additional U-Pick and Farm Markets in Ohio are located at the embedded link. The particular facilities in the Hartville area are nearest to Millersburg.
© 2012 Patty Inglish