The Amish Population Boom

Thanks to high birth rates and few people exiting the sect, the Amish population in the United States is surging:

The Amish population — a religious group that limits its member’s access to conveniences like telephones and electric lights — is growing at an estimated 5% a year and now stands at 249,500.

A new Amish settlement is being created at a rate of once every three weeks, the study found. Sixteen were established over the past year alone.

Researchers estimate that 85% of people who are raised Amish stay in the group as adults.

Link via Marginal Revolution | Photo by Flickr user Alotor used under Creative Commons license

That's nice that their population is growing, but I wonder if they still have the problem of extremely high numbers of children with developmental disabilities due to decades of inbreeding?
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...let me elaborate. I say creepy because being taught to fear science and technology as something bad or evil is creepy. Preferring to live without these things in the full knowledge of their advantages and disadvantages is not.
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they should be raised WITH those "conveniences" and then given a chance to choose how they want to spend their adulthood. otherwise the only reason they stay in the group is fear (of failing outside the group etc)
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Few leave mainly because education is typically poor (one room schools, taught up to ~8th grade by young Amish women)... so good luck getting a good job having not graduated from high school (and good luck getting into college after that).
Also, many families don't help children financially if they don't stay in the sect. So basically when they leave the church they leave their family, and they start out in modern America that thinks they're weird with an 8th grade education, strong (but old-school) vocational trade skills, but little knowledge of technology. So, not terribly hard to see how the church could be a pretty comfortable choice.
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i live next to several Amish families and have found them to be some of the most level-headed, kind and generous people i've ever met. you could do a lot worse than having a few more Amish around...
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I'm happy for them. In my experience, they have always been the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. And I'm not Amish (I'm on a computer! ha!), but they might really be on to something. I kind of like the idea of banishing technology and keeping it simple. I'll bet their stress levels are way lower than the average American's. It seems that they live a calm, peaceful existence. To me, that's something to envy.
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Not all Amish are the same. Some even own cars. I went to a Beachy Amish home during college and they had a plain looking sedan. Maybe a Buick or Olds. They had painted over the Keystone on the PA license plate. I think they had also painted over some of the chrome on the car.

One reason Amish do not use modern stuff, is because they do not want to become dependent. We also went to a more traditional Amish farm and they even owned tractor, but had replaced the rubber tires with all metal ones so that they would not have to buy replacements.
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@Erock - No, I don't believe I am. I believe I'm fairly accurate.
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sad that so many people will live their lives without 21st century education and modern understanding of science.

but don't get me wrong, i'll take the amish population growing rather than the islam population. at least jebediah doesn't want to chop my head off for being an infidel.
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Certain comments by certain people here indicate a lack of awareness of the Amish and their values.
They do not 'fear' technology. The Amish do not wish to be connected to the worldly system of dependence on large corporations which can, effectively, determine how, where and when a person may live their life.
Hence, the Amish strive to minimize any usage of 'grid' electricity, gas, cars, trains, transportation networks, telephones/cell phones, computers and anything else corporate.
They will use all of these to a degree - but not if using it means dependence on it.
Effectively, the Amish are amongst the most best equipped peoples on earth to resist every threat against civilisation - especially global-interdependence civilisation. If the 'System' crashes tomorrow, the Amish certainly won't have a community in chaos. Rather, they will have to bear the pressures of millions deserting violence-prone cities and running to them looking for a place to survive!
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