The Anabaptist Amish, Hutterite and Mennonite peoples trace their origins to the Reformation. Although they share certain beliefs, such as adult baptism and the separation of church and state, each group is culturally unique. The Hutterite and Amish are highly fertile and their populations exhibit stable rates of growth. These demographic characteristics reflect communal living among the Hutterites and labor intensive farming practices among the Amish. The Mennonites are the most receptive Anabaptist group to outside socioeconomic influences and provide a demographic contrast to the more conservative Amish and Hutterites. Demographic data collected during a study of aging in Mennonite population samples from Goessel and Meridian, Kansas, 1980, and Henderson, Nebraska, 1981, formed the basis of a cohort analysis in order to assess fertility change over time. Completed family size has decreased significantly in all three communities since 1870. Since the early 1900's the mean age of the mother at first birth has fluctuated but the mean age of mother at the birth of the last child is decreasing significantly for the communities of Goessel and Henderson, thus effectively shortening the reproductive span. The pattern is somewhat different for Meridian, the most conservative of the three communities.
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Published by: Wayne State University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41464105
Stevenson, Joan C. Dr.; Everson, P. M.; and Crawford, M. H., "Changes in Completed Family-Size and Reproductive Span in Anabaptist Populations" (1989). Anthropology. Paper 3.