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Amish growth extended to South America settlements last year

The Amish branched out last year with new settlements in Bolivia, Argentina and Canada as their numbers continued to grow and a high percentage of young people opted to remain within the religious community, which eschews many modern conveniences.

The sect's total current population is about 308,000 and has grown about 18 percent over the past five years, according to an ongoing population survey by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

The two small South American settlements were both founded last fall after longstanding Mennonite communities in those countries reached out to North American Amish to explore...