Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include reducing one's possessions or increasing self-sufficiency, for example. Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than want. Although asceticism generally promotes living simply and refraining from luxury and indulgence, not all proponents of simple living are ascetics. Simple living is distinct from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice.
Adherents may choose simple living for a variety of personal reasons, such as spirituality, health, increase in quality time for family and friends, work–life balance, personal taste, frugality, or reducing personal ecological footprint and stress. Simple living can also be a reaction to materialism and conspicuous consumption. Some cite socio-political goals aligned with the anti-consumerist or anti-war movements, including conservation, degrowth, social justice, ethnic diversity, tax resistance and sustainable development.
Religion in the United States is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. Various religious faiths have flourished, as well as perished, in the United States. Religions that span the country's multicultural immigrant heritage, as well as those founded within the country, have led the United States to become one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world. A majority of Americans report that religion plays a "very important" role in their lives, a proportion unique among developed nations.
The majority of Americans (73–80%) identify themselves as Christians and about 15–20% have no religious affiliation. According to the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) (2008) 76% of the American adult population identified themselves as Christians, with 25% identifying themselves as Catholics, and 51% identifying themselves as Christians spanning some 30 religious groupings. The same survey says that other religions (including, for example, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism) collectively make up about 4% of the adult population, another 15% of the adult population claim no religious affiliation, and 5.2% said they did not know, or they refused to reply. According to a 2012 survey by the Pew forum, 36 percent of Americans state that they attend services nearly every week or more.
Amish families and communities are notable for maintaining a more traditional way of life than wider society. Amish believe large families are a blessing from God. Amish rules allow marrying only between members of the Amish Church. The elderly do not go to a retirement facility; they remain at home. The Old Order Amish are known for their avoidance of certain modern technologies.
The Nebraska Amish are perhaps the most conservative group of Old Order Amish, descendants of the Anabaptists and Mennonites.
The present Nebraska Amish districts are found in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, with small extensions into Centre, Huntingdon, and Union counties. The Amish came into this region of Pennsylvania as early as 1791. Around 1880, Bishop Yost H. Yoder led nine families from Juniata County, Pennsylvania, to Gosper County in south-central Nebraska, founding an Old Order settlement that would last until 1904, three years after Bishop Yoder's death. Yoder went back to the Kishacoquillas Valley in Pennsylvania in 1881 to assist a conservative Amish group. Yoder was living in Nebraska, and the group was nicknamed the Nebraska Amish by others.