March 28, 2014

Cochran-Harpending paper on "Amish Quotient"

Henry Harpending and Gregory Cochran have a rough draft of a new paper: "Assortative Mating, Class, and Caste:"
The Amish marry within their faith. Although they accept converts, there are very few, so there is almost no inward gene flow. They descend almost entirely from about 200 18th century founders. On the other hand, there is considerable outward gene flow, since a significant fraction of Amish youth do not choose to adopt the Amish way of life. In recent years, something like 10-15% of young Amish leave the community In the past, the defection rate seems to have been higher, more like 18-24%. Defection is up to the individual - there are no exterior barriers against Amish who want to participate in modern society.
Since the Amish have very high birth rates ( > 6 children per family), their numbers have increased very rapidly, even though there is a substantial defection rate. There were about 5,000 descendants of the original 200 by 1920, and today [2013] there are about 280,000 Amish. 
Every way of life selects for something, but the Amish way of life is so different that natural selection in that population should be noticeably different from that in the general US population. It seems likely that the Amish have undergone selection for two specific traits, due to their unusual social and reproductive pattern. 
First, they were almost certainly selected for higher fertility. A recent study (Milot et al., 2011) found evidence of this kind of selection in preindustrial French Canadians, who, like the Amish, went through a very rapid population expansion. 
Second, and more interesting, the Amish have probably experienced selection for increased Amishness - an increase in the degree to which Amish find their lifestyle congenial, since those who like it least, leave. We have called this kind of differential emigration 'boiling off'. Obviously, if some of the soup boils off, what is left is more concentrated. 
This boiling off is essentially truncation selection. If we assume a normal distribution, the loss of the least plain 10% corresponds to the loss of everyone more than 1.25 standard deviations below the Amish mean. If we assume a narrow-sense heritability of 0.3 and use a scale similar to that for IQ, the Amish gain about 1 point of plainness per generation. Not counting possible selection for this kind of personality in Europe, before they settled North America, the Amish have spent about ten generations under this kind of selection. Therefore their 'plainness', their Amish quotient (AQ), might have increased by about 0.6 standard deviation. During most of the period for which we have sufficient in- formation, the defection rate was significantly higher than 10%, so this may be a conservative estimate. Although there are certainly other factors that might influence the defection rate, such as increasing differences between the Amish way of life and that of their neighbors, increasing plainness would tend to reduce the defection rate over time. 
The Amish have some genetic problems because of genetic drift in a small population, and those have received a fair amount of attention from medical geneticists. However, in our opinion, their social pattern probably drives strong selection for a particular flavor of personality, which is downright fascinating and worthy of further investigation. One could, with difficulty and a lot of investment, identify dimensions of a hypothetical AQ. It would likely include affinity for work, perseverance, low status competition, respect for authority, conscientiousness, community orientation, and so on. We proposed (Cochran, Hardy, & Harpending, 2006) a similar mechanism to account for Ashkenazi Jewish evolution in Medieval times selecting for ability and success in white collar occupations.

Driving cross country recently, we zoomed through the Amish country in Holmes County in Ohio, where 44% of the population speaks some sort of German/Dutch as their first language. I was under the mistaken impression that the Amish abjure all technology past some point in history, such as the New Testament, on fundamentalist theological grounds. This would imply that the comfort gap is continually increasing: e.g., children would be playing with un-awesome wooden toys.

But a couple of hours of driving around showed I was mistaken. Congregations apparently pick and choose which technologies they will allow themselves based on what they kind of culture they want. This means they can adopt new technology if they feel it is constructive. The kids, and there are a lot of kids, typically have brightly colored plastic outdoor toys like other children have. 

There's nothing that looks like modern poverty and there's a faint air of quiet prosperity. It's a much tougher life than I'd like, but my general impression was that these people know what they are doing. They might well be getting better at doing what they do. 
   

152 comments:

Anonymous said...

Second, and more interesting, the Amish have probably experienced selection for increased Amishness - an increase in the degree to which Amish find their lifestyle congenial,

How is this different from any other ethnic group - WASPs selecting for WASPishness, Jews for Jewishness, Italians for Italianness?

Anonymous said...

The "rough draft" link doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Dammit Steve, you linked to your hard drive.

Anonymous said...

Because the Amish have historically experienced a much higher level of defection to other communities than these other ethnic groups, resulting in a faster process of "concentration." Cochran and Harpending don't contend that the Amish process is qualitatively different that those of the other ethnic groups, but rather that it has been quantitatively greater over the past 300 years.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Cochran and Harpending attribute the relatively high IQ scores of American Episcopalians to bright young men of other denominations migrating east and converting to Episcopalianism (long the most prestigious denomination on the East Coast) and contributing their genes to the Episcopalian gene pool.

Steve Sailer said...

If you moved to New York to make your fortune, you might start attending services at the Episcopalian church where J.P. Morgan was a deacon.

DR said...

The worse part about being poor in America is having to live around other poor Americans. From a material wellbeing standpoint even "poor Americans" are still very well off from a global or historical standpoint. The Amish and Orthodox have largely solved this problem by creating sub-communities that are poor but not dysfunctional.

5371 said...

There were about 5,000 descendants of the original 200 by 1920, and today [2013] there are about 280,000 Amish.

If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors.

Anonymous said...

If they are like other Old Order Mennonites (of which they are subset) then I would imagine they are alright financially, probably better off than many of their neighbors. Living a simple, cooperative life equals lots of opportunities for saving and eventually investing.

Dan said...

People who are capable of thinking about religion as a reform process, and that's basically what Episcopacy is (reformed and catholic) are likey to have strong intellects.
They are people cognizant of church history, aware of the problems and the glory of that past. They are not huckstering itinerants nor are they obsequious.
It's also possible that high status migrants from the UK also replenished the ranks from time to time.

Xenophon Hendrix said...

>"If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors."

1920 to 2013 is enough time for three plus generations. Once childhood mortality was brought under control, the Amish birthrate is high enough to triple their population every generation:

One generation: 5000 to 15,000
Two generations: 15,000 to 45,000
Three generations: 45,000 to 135,000

The difference between 135,000 and 280,000 is easily explained by there being close to four 25-year generations rather than three.

gcochran said...

5371:
The problem is that as usual, I thought for a lot longer than two seconds. Total conversions are probably in the tens. Not tens of thousands : tens.

Do the math - if you can.

misdreavus said...

@5731

There were about 5,000 descendants of the original 200 by 1920, and today [2013] there are about 280,000 Amish.

If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors.


Not unless you understand how exponential growth works, which you clearly do not.

A total fertility rate of 7.0 per woman would more than suffice to generate a population expansion that large over a period of three to four generations, which sounds plausible. currently the TFR among Amish women varies from 5.0 to higher than 9.0, depending on region.

Anononymous said...

"there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors."

1920-2013 = 93 years
Family size @ 8.
Start 5000
Gen. 1: 5,000 x 4 = 20,000
Gen. 2: 20,000 x 4 = 80,000
Gen. 3: 80,000 x 4 = 320,000

Anonymous said...

In our area, dozens of Amish farmers have formed a cooperative and sell heirloom produce at farm gate stores. In season, I buy all my produce there since it tastes better, is cheaper and has no illegal Mexican labor content.

PA said...

"The Amish and Orthodox have largely solved this problem by creating sub-communities that are poor but not dysfunctional."

Segregation used to serve this purpose on a larger scale.

Sequester Grundleplith said...

My understanding is that the process through which the Amish confront the influence of modern society is much more thoughtful than generally assumed. When the group gets wind of a new technology, a few respected family men begin using it and then report back about its utility and about whether and to what extent it's compatible with the Amish ethos. Next, the whole group or a representative body (e.g. some sort of council of elders) decides whether to adopt or not.

This is fascinating for any number of reasons, but two have always stuck with me. First, the Amish seem to intuitively understand what it's taken mainstream western intellectuals 200 years to get a handle on: that every form of technology implies its own ethos and its own morality, that technology is more than a socially and psychologically neutral tool. Second, the Amish clearly reject the premise that the onward march of technology is inevitable and and that the rest of us humble folks are just gonna have to start beeping and booping along to whatever tune is called by Silicon Valley, Wall Street, etc.

In short, a lot to admire, although this critical approach to new technological forms probably can't be scaled up to any significant extent. In my book that's an argument for scaling everything else (community, government, etc.) down, but your mileage may vary.

Erik said...

I've taken two seconds of thought and I don't see why there must have been considerable conversion the way 5371 says. At birth rates of >6 children per family, the population increases 3x per generation. Estimate generation time of 25 years, that's 80x population in a century.

5000 * 80 = 400 000, subtract some amount of defectors and it's within the ballpark of what's reasonable for them to go from 5000 in 1920 to 280 000 in 2013.

Perhaps mr. 5371 could take two seconds of explanation?

Marc Pisco said...

If you start with 5000 people, and they have an average of four surviving children each, and that fertility rate continues, shouldn't the fourth generation be around 320,000?

That's eight kids per family, which is a lot. But is it obviously impossible?

Or am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

There were about 5,000 descendants of the original 200 by 1920, and today [2013] there are about 280,000 Amish.

If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors.


I thought the same thing the first time I saw those numbers, but when you actually do the math it turns out that, given an average of > 6 children per family, natural increase is quite sufficient to produce that amount of population growth in less than 100 years.

Entirely off topic, I understand that much of sub-Saharan Africa still has a birthrate of > 6 children per woman. Unless those countries can develop into successful modern societies, that probably won't be changing any time soon. Anyway, not important. So, what's the latest on that jet...

Bert said...

Ireland used to have a similar birthrate. Looking at it today it's hard to believe that was ever the case.

Christian said...

. . . two seconds of thought. . .

Unless >6 actually means >8:

You'd need to raise and retain an average of 8 children rather than 6 to get from a population of 5,000 to 320,000 in 3 generations.

Joe said...

" But a couple of hours of driving around showed I was mistaken. Congregations apparently pick and choose which technologies they will allow themselves based on what they kind of culture they want. This means they can adopt new technology if they feel it is constructive. The kids, and there are a lot of kids, typically have brightly colored plastic outdoor toys like other children have."


-There are several groups of Amish, some are incredibly restricitive, others a little less so. Think you may also be mixing them up with Mennonites. They look similar, but are less restrictive.

In addition, the Amish youth are allowed some freedom to go out and do as they will until they find themselves and either choose to join the church and become Amish, or choose to joint the world. As a result, the incredibly different advanced state of the modern world seems to appeal to many of their youths, who may dress and act like modern teens, drive cars, drink, smoke, etc.

John Mansfield said...

I suspect that "5371" above hasn't met anyone from a family of nine children, or an aunt and nephew who are the same age. There are women, and used to be many more, who become mothers when they are 20 or younger and bear their last child 25 years later. "5371" is thinking that a 56-fold increase in three generations would require each mother to bear eight children, far too high an average. For the fertile, though, 95 years is time enough for much of the fourth generation to have moved into place, and among a people were bearing a dozen children is not unusual.

Bill said...

Conservative Christians (such as Mormons, non-denominationals, Evangelicals, Amish, traditional Catholics, etc.) are the demographic future of white America. The fertility gap between them and liberal Americans opened up around 1980, and took off in the 90s. We'll start to see the effects within about ten years when they start having children of their own. A similar development is already noticeable in the Jewish population.

Anonymous said...

Vestryman, even Senior Warden, but definitely not a deacon.

Anonymous said...

"the Amish have probably experienced selection for increased Amishness - an increase in the degree to which Amish find their lifestyle congenial, since those who like it least, leave."
This strikes me more a result of personality than genetic predisposition; what, if anything, is the genetic component of predisposition to complacency, ambition, laziness? I know of my three siblings, we are across the board in those traits.

Secondly, as for their use of technology, I live in Columbus, about 80 miles from Holmes County and you will frequently see Amish people at the malls and even the airport. They usually arrive and depart in vans driven by non-Amish.

Anonymous said...

http://cis.uchicago.edu/events/2013-2014/jamaica-abominable-crime-micah-fink

Sean said...

"If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors"

I read a while ago that's a common misunderstanding about Amish communities. In fact they're not closed to inflow and continue to get quite a few outsiders joining.

Anonymous said...

Since the Amish have very high birth rates ( > 6 children per family), their numbers have increased very rapidly

How is it that the Amish don't overpopulate and run out of land for their farms? And I presume their poverty makes it hard for them to outbid non-Amish when buying land.

Anonymous said...

When I was young and foolish, I looked derisively at the Amish because that seemed to be how everyone looked at them.

Now I simply see a hard working, industrious group of people who simply wish to be left alone. I'm glad I grew up.

The snide portrayal of the Amish is the only black mark against the otherwise hilarious movie Kingpin. They could have simply made him a simpleton (as in Dumb and Dumber) and it would have had the same effect.

Steve from Detroit

reiner Tor said...

There were about 5,000 descendants of the original 200 by 1920, and today [2013] there are about 280,000 Amish.

If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors.


The Amish probably have very high TFR, even by third world standards, AND very low child mortality levels. So their population could easily double in under 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Yep. They're congregationalists.

Anonymous said...

Adopting Amish culture has some clear, in-your-face drawbacks. However, that can be a plus, not a minus.
I forget the technical specifics, but the "Amish Way" of locating septic facilities is officially proscribed. It's a specific distance and specific direction from the house. Say, 200M NorthWest. If, hydrologically, this means you are locating your septic uphill from your drinking water and will suffer contamination, tough. That is the Amish way.
(link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/amish-man-jailed-over-toilet-theology-1647647.html)
These sort of "do it even tho you know it's stupid because that is the cost of group acceptance" stuff aggressively selects for Amish-ness.

Anonymous said...

also interesting, the Amish are *really* diffuse. Group "1" might decide that xyz technology is ok while abc is not, and group "2" might decide the exact opposite.

Karen said...

Doesn't the fact that the rate of attrition has increased invalidate their position? The Amish quit school at age 13; 'rumspringe' usually beings at 14 to 16 and ends within a year or two. Thus the kids choosing to leave now were born at the very end of the last century and therefore well within the time that this supposed "amishness" gene should have surfaced and started working, yet it apparently is going the other direction.

Also, how do they define "Amishness?" What actual biological traits do they mean? Is there an allegory to buttons? Crippling nausea in the presence of car exhaust?

Anonymous said...

The Amish have arrived here in Northern New England. I work in commercial ag sales, so I get an "inside peak" into many profitable farms in the region.
There is a very profitable Amish farm I deal with and I couldn't quite make out their source of revenue. It was a tidy enough farm, but their revenue was outstanding in relation to their production. I asked about it once, and was AMAZED.
I was led into their barn, and they had a HUGE (ie Barn Sized) print of the Space Shuttle on the side. Seeing Amish people with a MASSIVE Space Shuttle was...weird. I asked about it, and they told me that every contractor with NASA above a certain purchase order price got one. I sat confused, and they showed me a horse-draw (ie a circular, almost merry-go-round looking device you hitch a horse to which can drive machinery). They used it to precision-bend very thick structural aluminum. They figured out how to meet NASA specs and they produced NASA-compliant materials...with horses.
It is amazing, their relationship to tech.
I wish I could embed a pic, it is a pretty amazing set up. Guys who don't have electricity making their horses work under a MASSIVE space shuttle to put things in orbit!

ogunsiron said...

"First, they were almost certainly selected for higher fertility. A recent study (Milot et al., 2011) found evidence of this kind of selection in preindustrial French Canadians, who, like the Amish, went through a very rapid population expansion"

In what way would this selection for high fertility manifest itself among modern French-Canadians ?

Huge families were indeed quite common 2 generations ago but the French-Canadians of today aren't having any more kids and it's the main reason why they will never get their own country.

This propension towards fertility seems very easily overrideable by whatever current attitudes about family size are.

Anonymous said...

"There were about 5,000 descendants of the original 200 by 1920, and today [2013] there are about 280,000 Amish.

If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors."

I would have thought so, too. But do the math. 5000 in 1920 x 3 (descendants: 6 children per couple, or 3 per individual)= 15000 in 1940. 15000 x 3 = 45,000 in 1960. 45,000* 3 =135,000 in 1980. 135,000 * 3= 405,000 in 2000. Additional growth in the ensuing 14 years, subtract infertile/early deaths and those falling away from the faith, and 280,000 today isn't farfetched.


Having 6 kids, if they survive, can really add up. That's why the third world is what it is today.

anonymousse

Anonymous said...

To "5371" --- The figures do not indicate any substantial in-migration since 6 children born at parental approx age 25 implies the population increases by a factor of 53 every 100 years which roughly matches the observed growth.

Anonymous said...

> then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013

"Since"? You are saying that the number of Amish in 2014 is much higher than 280000. Link?

Or did you mean "before"? Going from 5000 to 280000 in 93 years it not so hard. To get that kind of growth the population needs to be multiplied by 56 over however many generations. If we assume four generations then a per generation multiplication rate of 2.74 is sufficient, meaning that the average Amish couple needs to have 5.5 Amish kids. Increase that by a bit to handle defections and you need a birthrate of just over 6. Google how many children Amish have and you will see numbers like 6-8 per woman. The math all works out.

stari_momak said...

"There's nothing that looks like modern poverty and there's a faint air of quiet prosperity. “

I dunno. Some sort of Amish/Mennonite folks run several market stalls* at the central market in Philadelphia. They were the first white people I’ve seen in person that seemed to be actually a bit underfed (the only others I’ve seen are white Cubans, but that was in a documentary). The clothing looked a bit dingy and ill fitting too (not just ‘plain’). Then again, maybe I’m just used to fat contemporary Americans and cheap, expendable new clothing.

Side note: the customers for the Amish ice cream place was reflective of the market as a whole, but whereas the SWPLs were lining up to buy fresh pasta and salumi, the Amish savory food stall (think head cheese, smoked turkey wings, etc) was frequented largely by African-Americans who formed a fairly long line for the stuff.

stari_momak said...

"How is this different from any other ethnic group - WASPs selecting for WASPishness, Jews for Jewishness, Italians for Italianness?


Higher inter barriers to intermarriage, de jure or de facto.

Anonymous said...

To "5371" -- You need to give it more than two seconds thought. If families have 6 children with the parental age (approx) of 25 at birth of the children then the population increases by a factor of 54 in 100 years by natural increase which corresponds closely with the empirical figures.

Anonymous said...

@5371
I'm not sure why that's true. If you assume a tripling of the population every 20 to 25 years (6 kids per family plus early marriage) then you can easily get a figure in the range of 250k or more population today from a 5000 person starting point in 1920. Substantial converts need not be assumed.

Anonymous said...

""""But a couple of hours of driving around showed I was mistaken. Congregations apparently pick and choose which technologies they will allow themselves based on what they kind of culture they want. This means they can adopt new technology if they feel it is constructive. The kids, and there are a lot of kids, typically have brightly colored plastic outdoor toys like other children have.""""


Those are generally Mennonite communities. Which, while they were part of the original Amish, sometime in the early 20th century decided to "compromise" a bit with modern technology. So in point of fact what you saw most likely were not "pure" Amish but were part of the Mennonite communities.

This distinction was even referenced in Peter Weir's famous film Witness where the Amish widow played by Kelly McGillis states "Oh, they're Mennonites. They have telephones, drive cars and have electricity."

So its most likely Steve that what you saw were Mennonite communities and not strictly Amish even though they're both part of the same 200 original founding families from the 18th century.

Vaniver said...

"There were about 5,000 descendants of the original 200 by 1920, and today [2013] there are about 280,000 Amish.

If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors."

2013-1920=93, which is time for 3-4 generations. Let's pick 3, to make this an overestimate of the required growth. 280k/5k, raised to the 1/3rd power, gives that the population quadrupled every generation. (Again, overestimate- we assume they only live for the 30 years, then need to be replaced, rather than stacking up multiple generations.) We need an average of 8 children per woman- which is below historical averages of the American frontier, for example. Seems entirely reasonable.

Now we look for facts: according to here, Amish average 6-7 children per 'family' (which probably overestimates the per-woman rate), and double in population every 18-20 years (the historical rate of doubling using the numbers we have here is every 16 years.)

Anonymous said...

"Second, and more interesting, the Amish have probably experienced selection for increased Amishness - an increase in the degree to which Amish find their lifestyle congenial"

How is this different from any other ethnic group - WASPs selecting for WASPishness, Jews for Jewishness, Italians for Italianness?

For the reasons stated.

Wasps, for example, don't show significant defection from generation to generation and have significant inflow - they assimilate outsiders. This makes them completely different from the Amish.

Harlowe Place said...

It is more difficult than most people think for a subgroup to differentiate itself (at least for any significant period of time). For every discrete human biological impetus to propagate within a limited community, there are multiple brutal factors that maintain the observed law of natural selection that no generic kind oversteps its bounds. The biological factors include constantly stabilizing reversion to the mean, the recursive nature of low or dwindling sexual desire for the over-familiar (which is why, going back to the beginning, we have quantitatively more uncle and aunt ancestors who did not propagate than direct ancestors who did), and the incalculably (for now)vast amount of stochastic genetic and non-genetic activity that is necessary to prevent the incursion of diseases and conscious predators. Too bad, but that is how it seems to be.

Anonymous said...

"There were about 5,000 descendants of the original 200 by 1920, and today [2013] there are about 280,000 Amish."

If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors.

You mean since 1920, I think.

Hmm... 6 kids per family, 4 generations per century, that would mean 3^4, an 81-fold increase. That would actually take them to 400,000 by 2020, ignoring defections. So, 250,000 seems at least mathematically possible, though I understand your incredulity.

Anthony said...

5371 - no. If the TFR is 6 and the generation time is 20 years, the population will have tripled 4 times since 1920. 81 times 5,000 is comfortably more than 280,000.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, in Chinatown

http://tinyurl.com/nw2tyra

Mr. Sailer, I wonder if you can ruminate on this in a future post.

Does the criminal side of Chinatown have anything to do with the politics of CA? Maybe the tongs threatened to crack some eggs and bounce some balls over the recent affirmative action law?

Luke Lea said...

The dynamics of Ashkenazi in Eastern Europe must have been similar in some ways. E.g. I think there was considerable outmigration in every generation -- "going over to the "Aryan side" as they called it during WWII -- even though we don't hear about it much. Whether you would call these outmigrants "converts to Christianity" or just losers in the highly competitive, status driven Jewish world I'm not sure. They were drawn disproportionately from the poorest, least successful members of the community. We forget there was a lot of poverty in the shtetl's, and it was an extremely inegalitarian society.

Bottledwater said...



It's interesting that the Amish, despite their largely 19th century lifestyle, have the same IQ's as other whites. This may suggest that the Flynn Effect is NOT caused by modern culture artificially propping up IQ scores, but rather reflects a genuine biological increase in intelligence caused by nutrition (Richard Lynn's theory).

Since the Amish don't seem sub-optimally nourished, they may offer a rare opportunity to tease apart the effects of modern culture vs nutrition in causing the Flynn Effect.



AnotherDad said...

> If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors.

Not so fast. I'll grant that the 1920 figure is probably a bit low, but the numbers aren't widely out of line.

93 years is close to 4 Amish generations. If you averaged 6 kids giving you 3X growth per generation then 5000 * 3**4 is roughly 400,000 people. Throw in some defection and give yourself 2.5x growth per generation and you're about on target.

I'll grant 23 years (1/4 93 years)is below the effective Amish generation length, precisely because of the high fertility but we're at least in the ballpark.

High fertility is powerful. And normal. Heck, my mom's married in '25 had seven kids--all reaching adulthood and reproducing. But since we're not Amish those kids only yielded I only have 16 cousins--barely replacement. We boomers have hatched out well below replacement only one cousin and myself hatching three. And most of us at much higher ages--much lower "effective" fertility.

Normal fertility now absent most of the traditional constraints of the Malthusian trap can really ramp up the numbers.

Anonymous said...

>How is this different from any other ethnic group - WASPs selecting for WASPishness, Jews for Jewishness, Italians for Italianness?

Because the barriers to gene flow are much lower in those groups.

Anonymous said...

>If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors.

Well, no. It corresponds to about 4.3% annual growth, which is entirely possible. 5 or 6 kids is the norm for these families.

Anonymous said...

affinity for work, perseverance, low status competition, respect for authority, conscientiousness, community orientation, and so on

Steve, these are all traits I recognize in myself. I am about 5 generations removed from being Amish, but a full 50% of my heritage is from Anabaptist ex-Amish Mennonite/Brethren type folk.

The other key personality traits the author is missing are pacifism/non-violence, conflict avoidance, and extreme thrift.

You should also note that not only is there the incentive in the Amish community of non-conformists leaving, but even those who fail to self-introspect and discover their non-conformity have to leave, since non-conformance leads to excommunication and extreme-shunning. It is in fact extreme shunning of those who go againt the group that is the key trait that created the Amish.

panjoomby said...

conversion into Amish is very low (maybe a person a year!) BUT many Amish have left the community by choice - however, far fewer leave nowadays - probably b/c the community over time has allowed those least cut out for Amish-ness to cull themselves - so those folks are no longer in the Amish gene pool. that's selection by truncation, baby!

Volksverhetzer said...

If you look into it, one will find that the reason the Amish and Mennonites are pacifist, is that all the militants got killed in the low countries, before they went to America.

SFG said...

"If you moved to New York to make your fortune, you might start attending services at the Episcopalian church where J.P. Morgan was a deacon."

I think you meant another religion, but if you didn't want to do that, that probably wouldn't be a bad idea.

Though I've found those very old-line churches tend to get wrapped up in left-wing politics and become less business-friendly, at least in the Northeast.

International Jew said...

Not necessarily. Let's say 1920 to 2013 was four generations. Then per generation the rate of growth wa (280/5)^0.25=2.7, i.e. 5.4 living children per family.

The Z Blog said...

The same processes selecting for Amishness amongst the Amish surely work for Jews and Gypsies. Because Jews are not physically removed from the rest of the culture, it manifests in different ways. Why Jews are almost always on the left politically is a good example.

http://tinyurl.com/lhdaqdo

ironrailsironweights said...

Following up on a prior comment, I would imagine that most religions are experiencing a "boiling off" of the less devout, though the Amish undoubtedly are an extreme case. Compared to past generations there's generally less social pressure today to attend religious services. As a result, many people quietly drift away, though rarely becoming outright nonbelievers and often retaining nominal adherence to the faith, while those who continue to fill the pews are very secure in their beliefs.

Peter

Anonymous said...

7 Amish Girls riding a Conference Bike - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxn60AFEHq4

Jonathan Silber said...

The Offal Truth: At the rate the Amish are multiplying, it's only a matter of time before we're all lovin' McScrapple.

Anonymous said...

Amish Hackers

the description of the 14 year old Amish girl running her father's production line of pneumatic parts on a $400K CNC machine is precious.

This is one of the best articles I've read on the Amish. They could be role models for a lot of groups striving for cultural independence.

Anonymous said...

I think "boiling off" may explain why the citizens of certain Scandanavian countries are so passive and sickeningly liberal, in stark contrast to their aggressive Viking ancestors. The most aggressive members of their society were those who sailed to and raided other lands, ultimately either settling abroad and mixing with the local populations, or ending up dead in battle. Those that stayed behind and farmed are the ones who most modern Norweigans and Swedes are descended from.

The Monster from Polaris said...

Hmm... from 5,000 to 280,000 in 93 years? That amounts to a 56-fold increase in somewhat less than 4 generations (assuming that the Amish bear their children early, which is what I would expect with a TFR like that). If we assume a TFR of 6 and negligible defection, this would enable the Amish population to grow by a factor close to 81 in 4 generations. Thus a 56-fold increase without contributions from conversion of outsiders, although impressive, doesn't seem quite impossible.

Anonymous said...

Not if you have lots of kids (6-7) and start having a family early.

Steve Sailer said...

Two days after driving through Holmes County, Ohio we arrived in Grand Junction, CO on the Utah border (lots of irrigated farmland from the Colorado River) and a van full of plain folk pulled up to get ice cream cones. So, they're moving west.

And they aren't poor, so they can afford Western farm land.

David said...

>From a material wellbeing standpoint even "poor Americans" are still very well off from a global or historical standpoint.<

True.

Unknown said...

When I see the Amish who live nearby I am always struck that they can maintain their life-style when so little else in the culture seems to sustain. The magazine Our Iowa each issue (Q) has an "Amish Farm Wife's Diary that records current daily life.

Anonymous said...

First, the Amish seem to intuitively understand what it's taken mainstream western intellectuals 200 years to get a handle on: that every form of technology implies its own ethos and its own morality, that technology is more than a socially and psychologically neutral tool. Second, the Amish clearly reject the premise that the onward march of technology is inevitable and and that the rest of us humble folks are just gonna have to start beeping and booping along to whatever tune is called by Silicon Valley, Wall Street, etc.

Sounds also like Islam.

gcochran said...

There's an inaccuracy: there were about 5000 Amish in 1900, not 1920. Number in 1920 was more like 9000.

Still, pretty good example of exponential growth, hah?

Circa 1700, American pioneer population grew faster that the Amish today.

Attrition among the Amish has decreased over time, but is still significant.

Pretty much everything is heritable, certainly including personality traits. So sure, you could select for Amishtude, plainness, whatever you want to call it.





Tarrou said...

During my High School years, I lived in an Amish community. Our next door neighbor was the old patriarch of the clan, who had twenty-three children. One of his sons, a close family friend, who left the faith eventually, had thirteen. Almost all the children had >10 children themselves. The massive increase in numbers is not shocking at all.

An interesting point about all that fertility was demonstrated when I returned from the military. All the Amish I knew were gone, replaced by new ones. Seems the communities trade their land to each other periodically when they start to get too inbred to marry each other. Everyone scatters, and swaps farms with people doing the same thing in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kentucky, etc. Ingenious.

International Jew said...

No. The Jews who converted to Christianity were the ones who'd left the Shtetls to pursue fame and fortune in the big city -- Vienna, Berlin, Budapest -- and were thus among the most able and successful of their cohort. Indeed, it was only within the modernity of the cities that an ex-Jew could hope for any kind of acceptance among non-Jews.

Back in the mostly impoverished shtetls, conversion made no sense at all; religion came with nationality so if you stopped being a Jew, what would you become? A Ukrainian? A German? The idea itself was as absurd as, today, we'd take the idea of Steve Sailer choosing to become Chinese.

International Jew said...

OK, we can all stop ganging up on 5371 to prove how much math we know.
But I'll say one more thing ;-) which is that proponents of the Khazar theory fall into the same mistake when they say it was impossible for 50,000 Rheinland Jews who migrated east in the 1300s to have become nine million Polish and Ukrainian Jews by 1900, just by natural increase.

Luke Lea said...

I wonder how Amish and Ultra-orthodox Jews would get along? The way they are multiplying, who knows, they may start bumping up against each other in a couple of hundred years.

Luke Lea said...

International Jew said: "Back in the mostly impoverished shtetls, conversion made no sense at all; religion came with nationality so if you stopped being a Jew, what would you become? A Ukrainian? A German? The idea itself was as absurd as, today, we'd take the idea of Steve Sailer choosing to become Chinese."

Well, maybe. But how positive are you? I'm thinking of the 16th through 19th centuries. Based on some general impressions from my readings.

Luke Lea said...

Inrernational Jew said: "50,000 Rheinland Jews who migrated east in the 1300s"

The figure I've seen is more like 10,000, from a scholary book on Jewish history in Poland published by the Jewish Publicaton Society if memory serves. I don't have my library with me right now, so how about you offering some documentation. Or are you just making things up?

Luke Lea said...

Again, quoting International Jew: "so if you stopped being a Jew, what would you become?"

The answer is, peasant.

Dhs61' said...

10-15% of Amish youth leave the community?? That's far higher than any figures I've seen before..The highest I've seen was 5%.

gcochran said...

to International Jew: about conversion, pretty much. Compounded by the fact that most Jews didn't have much Polish, and the dietary laws.

And about the Jewish 'demographic miracle" in Eastern Europe, and the Khazar theory: sure, you're right. All it took was a TFR of 3 or so.

to Luke Lea: The Amish get along with everybody. The Hasids, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Looks like incredibly supercilious gcochran is doing academic work on the basis of garbage assumptions.

"The problem is that as usual, I thought for a lot longer than two seconds. Total conversions are probably in the tens. Not tens of thousands : tens.

Do the math - if you can."

Amish youth spend part of their late teens and early twenties outside of their communities. They also have a lot with their non-amish neighbors, as anyone who's had a conversation with one of the plainfolk knows. Furthermore, Amish who defect do not break off ties with family members inside the community.

So there are quite a few scenarios where Amish gene has been aired out a little bit besides religious conversion. Like when Amish marry outside the community and rejoin, or their kids do. Or where half-Amish children of Amish girls are brought into Amish communities.

The average reader of the Daily Mail would win a bet against Greg Cochran on this one.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2232492/MORE-Breaking-Amish-bombshells-cast-member-confirms-divorced-mother--pair-reveal-drunken-sex-session.html

Chris Mallory said...

A few years ago, I was working for a contractor who had subcontracted out some cabinet work to an Amish firm. I would have to have meetings with the Amish cabinet maker. His shop was fully electric and he had tools that most men would only dream about. The community had one phone, it was located at the school house. At the time, the Amish were adopting inline skates as a popular mode of transportation. I guess it was easier than hitching the horse up to the buggy. After riding in the cab of a truck with the Amish guy for several hours, my fondest wish was that they would adopt deodorant.

Monty said...

Karen,

The Amish rate of tradition hasn't increased. It has decreased. Re-read the article.

Luke Lea,

Regarding the Amish and the Ultra Orthodox, there was a great article, which I can't find now but which was linked to at the "Amish America" blog, about a delegation of Amish that met with New York ultra-Orthodox Jews for some sort of a cultural exchange. The contrasting reactions of an Amish married couple was interesting:

Husband: (somewhat gushingly) There's a lot that's similar between our two groups. (Goes on to list similarities).

Wife: (snapping) And a lot that's not. Christ is our savior.

Anonymous said...

DR:

The Amish and Orthodox have largely solved this problem by creating sub-communities that are poor but not dysfunctional.

The Amish are not poor. They are in fact quite prosperous, as is obvious from the amount of farmland they own and acquire, their businesses, the size and upkeep of their homes.

What the Amish do not do is spend lots of money on modern frivolities.

Anonymous said...

Again, quoting International Jew: "so if you stopped being a Jew, what would you become?"

The answer is, peasant.

______________________

For a second, I read "pleasant."
Is that telling? I don't know.

reiner Tor said...

Back in the mostly impoverished shtetls, conversion made no sense at all

I'm not sure about the shtetls, but in normal (Christian majority) cities it did happen. In Gershon David Hundert's The Jews in a Polish Private Town: The Case of Opatów a few converts are mentioned, and none of them very able, like cobblers or tailors or something, none of the rich merchants (who would have lost all their Jewish business partners instantly, without whom it was impossible for them to conduct business).

Big Bill said...

By giving free money, medical care, and apartments to any illiterate bastard-squirting female, who then baby-mamas for every pimp-talkin', pimp-walkin' fool it seems like we are engineering the reverse phenomenon in our urban areas.

Can the effects be seen in fifty years?

From LBJ's "Great Society" and "War on Poverty" to now?

Anonymous said...

Bill:

Conservative Christians (such as Mormons, non-denominationals, Evangelicals, Amish, traditional Catholics, etc.) are the demographic future of white America. The fertility gap between them and liberal Americans opened up around 1980, and took off in the 90s.

Jayman posted some figures on this on his blog that I crunched a while back.

Basically, 25% of all families are large families with 4 or more children. 80% of large families (4 or more children) are conservative, and that 80% of 25% (i.e. 20% of all families) has almost 40% of the children. Go higher up, and it is even more concentrated - conservative families with 5 or more children are 10% of families but have 23% of the children. There are an especially large number of children in conservative families with 5 children these days - thank you Mr. Minivan inventor.

Comiitted liberals of all family sizes make up 20% of all families, but they have less than 15% of all children.

Another interesting factoid is that while 60% of families have between 0 and 2 children, 50% of all children are growing up in families of 4 or more and 70% in families of 3 or more. This is why it seems so many people are from larger families despite so few families have more than 2 children.

An interesting overall trend in this regard is watching the Amish population grow as the farming/rural population shrinks - meaning the Amish are rapidly becoming a very large share of the rural population of the entire country.

Anonymous said...

Does the same hold true for the backward Mormon polygamists in southern Utah? In some ways they're similar to the Amish. There have been shows about young people either escaping that life or teenage boys being expelled as to not provide older men with competition for available women.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Amish fertility, I get a sense that people are a bit shocked because most of you have no idea what fertility is like without birth control.

I'm a Catholic and eschew artificial birth control. Using nothing more than calendar rhythm to space things out a bit, my wife has gotten pregnant 7 times in 14 years. If one didn't even bother with that, its likely you'd have a pregnancy every 18 months or so.

Amish geneaological records are well kept. On the Amish side of my family, nearly every one of my female ancestors had between 7 and 14 children going back to the 1600's in Switzerland. A number of the men remarried after the death of their first wife and had over 20 children by two wives. The pioneer of my surname who settled in Berks County actually managed to have THREE families - one in Switzerland, a second he emigrated to America with, and a third after he remarried in America after his second wife died.

The explosive growth of the Amish community is not surprising at all given that they eschew birth control.

Anonymous said...

"When I see the Amish who live nearby I am always struck that they can maintain"

Television is the critical factor in the cultural poisoning of the West.

It's the same with Muslims. They live in enclaves so they can dominate the local schools and don't let their kids watch western TV but get middle-east satellite channels instead. That's the only way parents can insulate their kids from cultural poisoning: group enclaves and no TV.

YKW think the Muslims they're importing will be corrupted like the indigenous populations and don't realize the Muslim kids are all watching anti-semitic cartoons in Arabic from the age they can walk.

James Kabala said...

I understand that high fertility can get from 5,000 to 283,000 in a century, but if their fertility was so high, why were they only at 5,000 to begin with 200 years after they arrived? Was it just high infant mortality?

Silver said...

"I'm a Catholic and eschew artificial birth control. Using nothing more than calendar rhythm to space things out a bit, my wife has gotten pregnant 7 times in 14 years. If one didn't even bother with that, its likely you'd have a pregnancy every 18 months or so."

I was surprised by the strength of my appalled reaction to this post. I don't mind Catholics very much, but something about the thought of society once again being dominated by religious kooks really irks me.

Anonymous said...

What you saw Steve were probably Mennonite people who are outwardly similar to the Amish but who use modern technologies like cars, trucks, and electricity. I think they have a fairly high birthrate as well. The Mennonites are all over the world, unlike the Amish and Hutterites who are concentrated in North America. The Amish have become increasingly mercantile in the area where I live which is northeast of Holmes County where you drove through. They run flea markets, restaurants, and even manufacture high quality furniture. They fill the niche of small businessman like the Armenians and Koreans in non-urban areas that were once rural and are now suburban.

Anonymous said...

Relevant...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOfZLb33uCg

Bill said...

Volksverhetzer said...
If you look into it, one will find that the reason the Amish and Mennonites are pacifist, is that all the militants got killed in the low countries, before they went to America.


Yep. They bit off more than they could chew and really got slaughtered. William Thomas Walsh provides some background on what happened in his book on Philip II, IIRC.

They learned pacifism the hard way.

Bill said...

Comiitted liberals of all family sizes make up 20% of all families, but they have less than 15% of all children.

-Anonymous


And probably less than 10% of all daddies.

5371 said...

Everyone who found those Amish populations figures plausible missed a couple of things.
1. A non-retention rate of 10-25% implies that at most the population is about 60% of what it would have been were all retained, after 93 years.
2. A TFR of 6 doesn't get you to a natural increase rate of over 4% a year even under the mortality conditions of 2013, let alone 1920.
3. Consider the Hutterites. Wikipedia, which offered the Amish figures used in the paper, says they grew in numbers from 400 to 42000 in 125 years. That's a considerably slower pace than claimed for the Amish. And yet the Hutterites are demographers' classic case of the maximum fertility any group has achieved in the field, and started from a much smaller group than the Amish are supposed to have had in 1920.

Anonymous said...

"I understand that high fertility can get from 5,000 to 283,000 in a century, but if their fertility was so high, why were they only at 5,000 to begin with 200 years after they arrived? Was it just high infant mortality?"

The defection rate was much higher back when there wasn't much differences between other Anabaptists or Baptists denominations and the Amish.

Anonymous said...

, I understand that much of sub-Saharan Africa still has a birthrate of > 6 children per woman. Unless those countries can develop into successful modern societies, that probably won't be changing any time soon. Anyway, not important.

HA HA HA +1

Anonymous said...

"I was surprised by the strength of my appalled reaction to this post. I don't mind Catholics very much, but something about the thought of society once again being dominated by religious kooks really irks me"


Well, perhaps this will happen even in your lifetime.

http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2006/the_return_of_patriarchy

Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century

Anonymous said...

I don't mind Catholics very much, but something about the thought of society once again being dominated by religious kooks really irks me.

I think I can probably speak for my traditionalist Catholic brethren in saying that we feel much the same way about this brief (from a historical point of view) reign of irreligious kooks dominating society.

Difference Maker said...

5371 said...
Everyone who found those Amish populations figures plausible missed a couple of things.
1. A non-retention rate of 10-25% implies that at most the population is about 60% of what it would have been were all retained, after 93 years.
2. A TFR of 6 doesn't get you to a natural increase rate of over 4% a year even under the mortality conditions of 2013, let alone 1920.
3. Consider the Hutterites. Wikipedia, which offered the Amish figures used in the paper, says they grew in numbers from 400 to 42000 in 125 years. That's a considerably slower pace than claimed for the Amish. And yet the Hutterites are demographers' classic case of the maximum fertility any group has achieved in the field, and started from a much smaller group than the Amish are supposed to have had in 1920.


5,000 Amish in 1900
280,000 Amish in 2013

The end date population is 56 times what it was at the start date. Or,

56x in 113 years

400 hutterites in year 0
42,000 hutterites in year 125

105x in 125 years

Only 60% Amish population retained according to yourself. Therefore, 56 / 0.6 = 93.333x * Repeating of course

I.e. 93.333x Amish growth in 113 years

tommy said...

My understanding is that the process through which the Amish confront the influence of modern society is much more thoughtful than generally assumed. When the group gets wind of a new technology, a few respected family men begin using it and then report back about its utility and about whether and to what extent it's compatible with the Amish ethos. Next, the whole group or a representative body (e.g. some sort of council of elders) decides whether to adopt or not.

That's basically it. The reason many Mennonites and Amish maintain the horse and buggy is precisely because it impedes easy transportation and prevents communities from scattering too readily and thus becoming assimilated. It's a smart strategy for a group that wants to maintain its cultural independence.

In a similar vein, Orthodox Judaism forbids, among many other things, the use of motorized transportation to get to the synagogue on the Sabbath. It's part of the whole "no kindling fires, no messing with electricity on Shabbos" rule in Judaism. This has the effect of helping maintain community cohesion: everyone in an Orthodox community must necessarily live within walking distance of the synagogue if they wish to attend.

Difference Maker said...

And to think, I could have mocked 5371 when there was about 1 comment in this thread, but didn't.

I am still surprised at how many silly people there are, but perhaps my own judgment was in question as well when I decided not to post.

Or perhaps I did the right thing by not posting and am now wrong in deciding to post as I'm operating on less sleep today, lol!

Difference Maker said...

Karen said...
Doesn't the fact that the rate of attrition has increased invalidate their position? The Amish quit school at age 13; 'rumspringe' usually beings at 14 to 16 and ends within a year or two. Thus the kids choosing to leave now were born at the very end of the last century and therefore well within the time that this supposed "amishness" gene should have surfaced and started working, yet it apparently is going the other direction.

Also, how do they define "Amishness?" What actual biological traits do they mean? Is there an allegory to buttons? Crippling nausea in the presence of car exhaust?


Charming hypotheticals my dear, but I am disappointed that you did not realize that propensity for leaving is due to natural variation, an inevitability of genetics and is the very driver of evolution

Sometimes, I think people could benefit from the experience of having siblings or children and noticing the differences among them, but then again most everyone does and few seem the wiser, including my own younger self. Indeed, there is even that fellow in this very thread who could not match up what he knew about his siblings with whatever he can be said to know about genetics.

Though I did not struggle so much with understanding the basic mechanics.

Difference Maker said...

5371 said...
Everyone who found those Amish populations figures plausible missed a couple of things.
1. A non-retention rate of 10-25% implies that at most the population is about 60% of what it would have been were all retained, after 93 years.
2. A TFR of 6 doesn't get you to a natural increase rate of over 4% a year even under the mortality conditions of 2013, let alone 1920.
3. Consider the Hutterites. Wikipedia, which offered the Amish figures used in the paper, says they grew in numbers from 400 to 42000 in 125 years. That's a considerably slower pace than claimed for the Amish. And yet the Hutterites are demographers' classic case of the maximum fertility any group has achieved in the field, and started from a much smaller group than the Amish are supposed to have had in 1920.


A further point to go with my previous post that be should explicitly made, your suggestion that Hutterite fertility exceeds Amish fertility only proves that the Amish population growth isn't unreasonable at all.

As we see, Amish 56x over 113 years and Hutterite 105x over 125 years are within the same order of magnitude. Who knows, given another 12 years the Amish could double their population after all! It would only require 2 children per family to do so.

In the long run, 2 children per couple would only be population replacement, but parents don't die immediately upon having 2 children.

And all this is with your suggested 60% Amish retention

Difference Maker said...

" 2 children per couple "

Of course, not everyone is a fresh parent. Nevertheless, the point remains the same: you don't need all that many children to double the population.

Consider 2 sets of grandparents, each having 2 children who survive and are fertile, who marry and themselves have 2 children. (Overlook the background of the population such as they will be inbreeding with each other if they are the only people in the world)

This is only replacement level. Yet, if we take the grandparent's generation as the oldest generation, then the current youngest generation (i.e. the grandchildren) forming new families each having only 2 children (the great grand children) would increase the population by 33%!

Silver said...

5371,

In my excel demographic model I used a TFR of 6 and applied 20th century infant mortality rates as reported by the CDC. This causes the population to grow from 5,000 to well over 280,000.

With defection factored in a population of 280,000 can be attained. Much depends on how "youth" and "defection" are defined, however. I used a definition of 16-21, with 10% of people in this age group defecting every six years. Extending the definition of youth to 16-25 year-olds, and allowing 10% of this group to defect every ten years produces similar results. If defection means 10% of youth (by whatever age-group definition) defecting every year then there is no way a population of 280,000 can be attained.

Difference Maker said...

Now we move on to the situation of only having 3 surviving and fertile children per generation.

Forgive the disjointed nature of these posts; I'm in the middle of doing other things and have had little sleep.

Let us posit a living grandparents' generation, a parents' generation and the current generation. If this last generation then goes on to have the same 3 surviving children per couple, the increase in total population if the resulting great grandparents are still alive will be 70%. If the great grandparent's generation has passed, then the increase will instead be 90%

And so on and so forth. You do the math. Amish can easily match Hutterites, and even if they do not that only means that what they've accomplished is even more reasonable and well within the realm of possibility

Silver said...

"Well, perhaps this will happen even in your lifetime."

It wouldn't necessarily be the end of the world to me. I would rather sit pensively in church ("pray," kind of) then attend a gay pride parade, let's say. I overreacted to that post because my feeling was that if a person has worked his way towards the kind of hard-nosed "demographic realism" exhibited on this blog then he would not encourage mindless natalism. It was disheartening to learn that's not necessarily the case.

Anonymous said...

if you stopped being a Jew, what would you become? A Ukrainian? A German? The idea itself was as absurd as, today, we'd take the idea of Steve Sailer choosing to become Chinese.


That's ridiculous. Genetically speaking most Jews ARE Germans/Ukrainians. But there is a very large genetic distance between Steve Sailer and the Chinese. Converting from Jew to German would be as big as move as converting from Catholic to Protestant. No change in genes necessary.

Jews have this belief that they are much more singular than they actually are. It's their most distinctive feature.

Anonymous said...

peruse the works of Gene Logsdon, esp. The Contrary Farmer and Farming at Nature's Pace. He mentions his Amish neighbors quite a bit inter alia. The bottom line, to oversimlify greatly: By intensively cultivating with animals and some portable power equipment, and by having simpler wants and therefore not spending very much, the Amish do quite well for themselves indeed.

Anonymous said...

... where 44% of the population speaks some sort of German/Dutch as their first language.

It's not really Dutch, that may have been a deliberate mis-impression exaggerated somewhere along the line, perhaps during WWI:

"In this context, the word "Dutch" does not refer to the Dutch people or their descendants. Instead it is probably left over from an archaic sense of the English word "Dutch"; compare German Deutsch ('German'), Dutch Duits ('German'), Diets ('Dutch'), which once referred to any people speaking a non-peripheral continental West Germanic language.... Alternatively, some sources give the origin of "Dutch" in this case as a corruption or a "folk-rendering" of the Pennsylvania German endonym "Deitsch"."


The language is apparently a branch of West Central German, spoken near regions around and along the Rhine, the Palatinate, Alsace, and Switzerland.

Some Amish speak Schwyzerdütsch, (Swiss Dutch?) which seems in english to be called Swiss German. This all seems pretty arcane though, "The dialects of Swiss German must not be confused with Swiss Standard German, the variety of Standard German used in Switzerland." To follow all this you must need to really be able to mind your umlats.

Anonymous said...

"I was surprised by the strength of my appalled reaction to this post. I don't mind Catholics very much, but something about the thought of society once again being dominated by religious kooks really irks me." - Societies are very rarely, if ever, dominated purely on a demographic basis. So unless those Catholics are also raising their children properly you don't have to worry about them dominating. Then again, if they are raising their children properly you shouldn't worry about it that way either.

Anonymous said...

"If these figures are accurate, then there has been very considerable conversion into the Amish since 2013, as two seconds of thought would have told the authors."

I know nothing about population growth, but there may be solid data out there:

In "Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies: Volume 1, Issue 1 (April 2013)" (I guess publish and perish marches on):


"The Amish Population: County Estimates and Settlement Patterns", Donnermeyer, Joseph F.; Anderson, Cory; Cooksey, Elizabeth C:

"This article presents the findings of a county-based estimate of the Amish population. ... We report on population totals, state by state. We include tables showing the 25 largest Amish settlements, the 25 counties with the largest Amish populations, and the 25 counties with the highest percentage of Amish to their total population. Based on current rates of growth, we project the Amish population, decade by decade, to 2050."

Download the article here (pdf). This is about a 40 page survey article with lots of data. From the article:

"...we calculated a current doubling time for the Amish population of 21.25 years...

...what emerges from these projections is impressive; by 2050, we estimate that the number of Amish adherents will exceed 900,000 living and worshipping in 927 settlements."

Anonymous said...

Genetically speaking most Jews ARE Germans/Ukrainians

If you mean Ashkenazic Jews, they are genetically Middle Eastern Hebrews with some adaptations to North-Central Europe. In terms of culture, though, they are Germans.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any formal IQ testing of Amish (or Mennonite or Hutterite) populations?

I really doubt they are high-IQ. European-style wheat farming is not conducive to high IQs, and its sheer boredom causes high-IQ outliers to flee for the cities. The Amish do have something else, best described as wisdom. This could be considered a multiple intelligence, just like the animal cunning and intense social skills of certain low-IQ urban ethnic groups.

Anonymous said...

You have to test whether the traits described actually related well to defection out of the group and didn't relate positively to reproductive success within the group.

Outgroup defection might just be not about being "whipped", not about lacking characteristics that promote success within the group.

(and characteristics that promote success within the group might not even be the characteristics that set the group apart, e.g. it doesn't matter if your culture has a pacifist tradition, only whether the relatively most violent have the less reproductive success than in a culturally more violent group).

The Amish might have a bunch of characteristics that set their community apart, but if only submission to authority predicted whether a member left the group or not, that's all that would "boil off".

Anonymous said...

The Amish also avoid debt and usury, two killers of the poor.

Anonymous said...

While perusing articles on the Amish I came across an interesting concept called Dunbar's number:

"Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships."


So about the size of an Amish church district, a Hutterite Colony, or an infantry company, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any formal IQ testing of Amish (or Mennonite or Hutterite) populations?

Google scholar rapidly finds a huge 530-page government report from 1969 chock full of IQ test reports on Amish school children, as well as about every other type of test you might give a kid:

"Educational Achievement and Life Styles in A Traditional Society, the Old Order Amish. Final Report.", Hostetler, John A.

Download the report here.

I didn't read it ;). Skimming through suggests that overall the finding is "about average, a little better here, a little worse there, and it depends on which Amish you measure". In other words, similar to other north European populations.

There are many tables of IQ by age and school year and comparisons to control groups.

On page 185 an IQ table of Amish schools jumped out at me. The top school had a mean IQ score of 112. The bottom school had a mean IQ score of 91.5.

You almost might suspect the mean is about 100... funny how that works.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any formal IQ testing of Amish (or Mennonite or Hutterite) populations?

I really doubt they are high-IQ. European-style wheat farming is not conducive to high IQs, and its sheer boredom causes high-IQ outliers to flee for the cities. The Amish do have something else, best described as wisdom. This could be considered a multiple intelligence, just like the animal cunning and intense social skills of certain low-IQ urban ethnic groups.


I've read that the Amish test at around 102 for quantitative, and lower (I don't remember how much) for verbal -- but bear in mind that most speak Pennsylvania Dutch, not English, at home.

Anonymous said...

(I'm the above poster.) To add to the above: Anabaptists have historically been quite suspicious of education, and the Amish still are, but from my own interaction with Mennonites and other more culturally integrated Anabaptists, I don't find them to be any less intelligent than other white Americans, and if anything I would guess that they're slightly more intelligent than average. But this is purely anecdotal, and as a Mennonite myself, I'm probably biased.

Silver said...

"I don't find them to be any less intelligent than other white Americans"

Hypothetically, if they were less intelligent, it's not something you would be able to detect merely by speaking to them. Group differences in intelligence of only a few points are simply not that obvious. That is one reason why people who know nothing about IQ testing find it so difficult to countenance the basic tenets of hbd.

Anonymous said...

European-style wheat farming is not conducive to high IQs, and its sheer boredom...
It's literally watching the grass grow.

Anonymous said...

The worse part about being poor in America is having to live around other poor Americans. From a material wellbeing standpoint even "poor Americans" are still very well off from a global or historical standpoint. The Amish and Orthodox have largely solved this problem by creating sub-communities that are poor but not dysfunctional.

The problem with the Amish is interbreeding of cousins too much since they are an isolated community but they do support their own kind and don't need the state since they do without modern appliances a lot and have small craft business and voluntary socialism for the group to aid it. The closest group are Mormons who also support their own kind.

Anonymous said...

The worse part about being poor in America is having to live around other poor Americans. From a material wellbeing standpoint even "poor Americans" are still very well off from a global or historical standpoint. The Amish and Orthodox have largely solved this problem by creating sub-communities that are poor but not dysfunctional.

The problem with the Amish is interbreeding of cousins too much since they are an isolated community but they do support their own kind and don't need the state since they do without modern appliances a lot and have small craft business and voluntary socialism for the group to aid it. The closest group are Mormons who also support their own kind.

Anonymous said...

Basically, 25% of all families are large families with 4 or more children. 80% of large families (4 or more children) are conservative, and that 80% of 25% (i.e. 20% of all families) has almost 40% of the children. Go higher up, and it is even more concentrated - conservative families with 5 or more children are 10% of families but have 23% of the children. There are an especially large number of children in conservative families with 5 children these days - thank you Mr. Minivan inventor.

Actually, evangelicals generally don't have that many more kids than the general population. In Texas evangelicals have less kids than Roman Catholics because whites are more likely to be evangelical. The white cities of Texas don't have a larger population of children than the general population. In fact Plano Texas with a lot of evangelicals under 5 population is 5.8 while Houston is near 8 because of Hispanics and Afro-Americans. Its a myth that all conservatives have more kids, wealthier conservative cities like Newport Beach in Orange County have kid populations below the national average. A blue collar democratic in Oh has more kids.

Tom Bridgeland said...

Since Amish are free to leave, and later rejoin the faith, I wonder there is also crossover between different sects.
For example, can a Mennonite leave his home sect and join an Amish community? That would allow a much wider gene pool, even if they all had the same root population. The most 'liberal' sects might attract more outsiders, and over a few generations genes would spread inside the wider community.

Anonymous said...

To add to the above: Anabaptists have historically been quite suspicious of education, and the Amish still are

Education <> intelligence.

And maybe the real issue here is that Anabaptists are suspicious of education when other groups were trying to educate them. This is much the same motivation as modern home-schoolers.

5371 said...

My claim that growth from 5000 in 1920 to 280000 in 2013 was not credible has been tacitly admitted by those who adopt the revised version of 5000 in 1900, but apparently they do not even notice this.

5371 said...

If you mean Ashkenazic Jews, they are genetically Middle Eastern Hebrews with some adaptations to North-Central Europe. In terms of culture, though, they are Germans.

3/29/14, 1:26 PM

No, PCA on their whole genomes shows them to be generic southern Europeans, nothing recognisably middle eastern about them. And nowadays not many of them could be termed culturally German in any sense.

Anonymous said...

There are Amish like Russian people known as the Old Believers. They also tend to have huge families. Remove White people from the poison of modernism and they will quickly breed like rabbits.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_KjiX-zPzw

IndianaJohn said...

I have some familarity with the Amish of Nappanee Indiana, which is just south of South Bend.
It is interesting that they are unaware that there is a jewish sect that has copied the dress and somewhat, the grooming of traditional Amish.

Anonymous said...

conservatives are too much in expanding the population. Expanding the population keeps wages low, for example China and India with very large populations have low wages. Also, the black death which killed millions in the 14th century help to increase wages for peasants and profits for merchants. Conservatives are too much into the expanding population and having lots of kids model to find out that maybe their is an advantage in becoming Japan.

Anonymous said...

European-style wheat farming is not conducive to high IQs, and its sheer boredom...
It's literally watching the grass grow.



Are you sure it's not the exact opposite and that it doesn't require a capacity for complex analysis, a long time horizon, and the ability to prepare for problems? Why are all those Swiss and Amish farms so pretty?

And as someone pointed out in another thread, it was the Mennonites (the Amish are a Mennonite splinter group) that changed the world with the vast wheat fields of Kansas and the Ukraine, both due to their development of agricultural technology and development of turkey red wheat. Such things have to come from somewhere, from somebody.

"Today, few people under thirty have heard the story of Mennonite families fleeing Tsarist persecution and coming to Kansas with trunks of hand-selected ‘Turkey’ wheat seed."


I think if you'll look up the history of Mennonite agriculture you'll have a different view point. They were doing their own ag research long before governments undertook this role. Note that a lot of modern statistics (Fischer, etc.) came out of ag research (all those aggie government research stations). There's a lot of room for IQ in ag and it's important stuff.

Anonymous said...

A quick google finds this web site, Amish America, by a guy who apparently got started selling religious books to the Amish and now maybe sells books about the Amish. His site has an article that might shed some light on Amish population growth:

"How fast are the Amish growing?"

He gives an estimate of Amish population growth (no source) as doubling every 18 to 20 years. One factor of course is fertility:

"Some Amish... register birth rates as high as 9 children per family (such as the Swiss Amish churches of Adams County, Indiana)."

Also, the retention rate might be very high in some communities:

"The baptism rate can vary across individual Amish affiliations as well.

New Order Amish tend to have among the lowest rates of baptism, with roughly 2/3 of their youth choosing the Amish way of life. In contrast, conservative groups such as the Andy Weaver Amish have very high rates of baptism, in some cases exceeding 90 and even 95%.

The high baptism rate is a key factor in the high Amish growth rate, as the number of converts to the Amish is minimal."

Anonymous said...

"I really doubt they are high-IQ. European-style wheat farming is not conducive to high IQs, and its sheer boredom causes high-IQ outliers to flee for the cities."

There may be competing factors involved. On the other side of the coin to the (plausible) point you make is children reach 90% of their adult brain size from age 0-3 and brain development requires sufficient iodine and historically northern European populations got large amounts of iodine from dairy products and animal fats.

European-descended small farm populations probably still get all their needed iodine from milk, butter and cheese whereas consumption of those products has declined elsewhere due to media driven health fads.

.

"The Amish also avoid debt and usury, two killers of the poor."

Usury is a wealth transfer mechanism that concentrates wealth over time and as wealth gets more concentrated the velocity of money goes down creating a deflationary spiral.

So the Amish attitude - which used to be the most common western attitude until very recently - is correct. Usury and debt are a curse.

Funnily enough all the Christian churches used to preach that. They didn't know the underlying mechanism that causes it to be true but they saw it from experience.

.

"my feeling was that if a person has worked his way towards the kind of hard-nosed "demographic realism" exhibited on this blog then he would not encourage mindless natalism."

There's two parts to it; one is it shows that cultural poisoning is a factor in the decline of fertility.

.

"I understand that high fertility can get from 5,000 to 283,000 in a century, but if their fertility was so high, why were they only at 5,000 to begin with 200 years after they arrived? Was it just high infant mortality?"

Their relative fertility wasn't high until the cultural poisoning and they started low because of the religious wars.

Anonymous said...

Hypothetically, if they were less intelligent, it's not something you would be able to detect merely by speaking to them. Group differences in intelligence of only a few points are simply not that obvious.

Well, okay, but I've grown up around Mennonites all my life, interacted with them at school/church, etc. My college was about 1/4 Mennonite. I think those are constant and close enough interactions to get some sense of average intelligence. But as I said above, this is still just personal impressions, and I'm quite willing to have my preconceptions corrected by data.

For example, can a Mennonite leave his home sect and join an Amish community? That would allow a much wider gene pool, even if they all had the same root population.

I don't have hard numbers, but this is rare. It's much more common for Amish to become Mennonite than the converse. (Indeed, I suspect that most ex-Amish are Mennonite.)

Note also that, contrary to what others have said above, Mennonites do not come from the same root population -- i.e., not the 200 mentioned in Steve's posts. The Amish split off from the Mennonites, not the other way around. The Mennonites were around back in the 16th century in Europe, and there are many more of them than Amish today. The Amish are just better known because of their rejection of modern technology.

And maybe the real issue here is that Anabaptists are suspicious of education when other groups were trying to educate them. This is much the same motivation as modern home-schoolers.

Generally speaking, education was/is viewed by Anabaptists as "worldly." Historically Anabaptists have sharply differentiated between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world, and education belonged to the latter side. There are some Mennonite home-schoolers who fit the profile you describe, and might be friendly to education as long as it is done right, but groups like the Amish who really are suspicious of education tout court would not want their children to go to, say, a conservative Mennonite university to pursue Biblical Studies. The point isn't (or isn't merely) that they would be exposed to liberal ideas about the Bible there. The point is that the whole notion of studying the Bible (or anything else) in this way is anathema to the Amish way of life. They just wouldn't see the point of scholarship for its own sake.

Anonymous said...

About Amish population growth in general (not just the population 5000 in 1900 issue), there is a group at Ohio State and a group at Elizabethtown College who appear to have looked at Amish population growth.

The Elizabethtown College group summarizes their work (this is also what the Amish America site cites) in: "Amish Population Trends 1991-2010: Twenty-Year Highlights", Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. They have a PDF with tables on Amish Population Change 1991‐2010. A few extracts from their page:

"In the 20-year period from 1991 to 2010, the Amish of North America (adults and children) doubled in population, increasing from 123,550 in 1991 to 249,500 in 2010, an overall growth of 102 percent."

"The primary forces driving the growth are sizeable nuclear families (five or more children on average) and an average retention rate (Amish children who join the church as young adults) of 85 percent or more. A few outsiders occasionally join the Amish, but the bulk of the growth is from within their own community."

So they suggest a non-retention rate close to 15% (although it may have changed over time).


The Ohio State group, in ""The Amish Population: County Estimates and Settlement Patterns", notes: "The Young Center “Amish Studies” webpage (see “statistics – population trends”) shows a 2012 estimated population of 273,700, up 4.8% from their 2011 estimate of 261,150 (www2.etown.edu/amishstudies/Index.asp). Using our 2010 estimate as a base, and an annual average increase of 3.296%, we project a 2012 population of 267,574, which is 2.3% lower than the Young Center. Also, we calculated a doubling time of 21.25 years, while the Young Center webpage claims a doubling time of 18-20 years. However, a 4.8% annual increase represents a doubling time of 14.78 years. Obviously, projections using the Young Center statistics will provide a much larger total for succeeding years than our estimates. For example, using the Young Center statistics, as early as 2040, the Amish population will exceed one million.".

So the stats here aren't exact. Even though many Amish groups keep good records that are published in "The Diary of the Old Order Churches", it seems it is a problem to decide what is Old Order Amish and what isn't. The researchers seem to go by the buggy-not-car rule of thumb, but that's not perfect. This data seems to come mostly not from a census, but from research supported by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

Silver said...

"Usury is a wealth transfer mechanism that concentrates wealth over time and as wealth gets more concentrated the velocity of money goes down creating a deflationary spiral."

"Usury" has run amok since WWII. How many "deflationary spirals" have occurred in that time?

dcite said...

"was surprised by the strength of my appalled reaction to this post. I don't mind Catholics very much, but something about the thought of society once again being dominated by religious kooks really irks me."

I grew up Catholic and it was pretty obvious to me that the great majority did whatever they damn well wanted with regard to birth control, and that was the 60s. Can't answer about earlier times.

However, don't Hasidic Jews have similar numbers? And Orthodox?
I believer their numbers are some of the highest.

Anonymous said...

""Usury" has run amok since WWII. How many "deflationary spirals" have occurred in that time?"

The same slowly increasing one. Currency debasement is necessary to counter the effect but sooner or later you run out of road.

Simply put do you accept that actual money supply (Ma) = nominal money supply (Mn) times the velocity of money (Vm)?

Ma = Mn x Vm

It's self-evidently true and once you accept that very simple but obvious thing then it follows that falls in the velocity of money are deflationary.

If you let that sink in for a while everything else follows.

What causes falls in the velocity of money?

Silver said...

"Simply put do you accept that actual money supply (Ma) = nominal money supply (Mn) times the velocity of money (Vm)?"

Certainly not. You are asking me to accept that the decline in the velocity of money in recent years has caused the "actual" money supply to plummet - a period in which the supply of money (the "nominal" supply, according to your heterodox terminology) has skyrocketed. I can see no reason to accept the relation you claim exists, nor if I did accept it coul I see any necessary link between it and deflation.

Silver said...

"I grew up Catholic and it was pretty obvious to me that the great majority did whatever they damn well wanted with regard to birth control, and that was the 60s. Can't answer about earlier times."

Those are not the sort of Catholics I am worried about. The mindless natalism of the "traditionalist" catholic true believers will certainly see a rise in their numbers. Unchecked, they will in the fullness of time rise to a position of dominance. The only hope is that the malleability of religious devotion prevails over its heritability.

Anonymous said...

@Silver

"Certainly not. You are asking me to accept that the decline in the velocity of money in recent years has caused the "actual" money supply to plummet"

Fair enough, that was very sloppy choice of words on my part, let's change it to effective money supply and actual money supply.

effective money supply = actual money supply times velocity of money

Me = Ma x Vm

If you accept that as self-evidently true - which it must be once the labels are correct - then falls in the velocity of money are deflationary.

The point is very simple and everything else follows from it.

Andrew said...

Anon:

I really doubt they are high-IQ. European-style wheat farming is not conducive to high IQs, and its sheer boredom causes high-IQ outliers to flee for the cities. The Amish do have something else, best described as wisdom.

The Amish are primarily dairy farmers and rural tinkerers (carpenters, blacksmiths, small-tradesmen), not wheat farmers. A handful of Amish in Kansas are heavily involved in wheat farming.

ogunsiron said...

@5371 Re:jewish genetics:
I've read several times that they were approximately a half/half mix between italian-like southern europeans and levanto-armenians.
Are you including levantines and armenians in your southern-european category ?

The earlier poster who said that they were Ukrainain/Russian is completely wrong. If there has been any intermarriage between eastern Slavs and Jews it's happened during the 20th century.