The Shaker movement was particularly attractive to large American families, who were drawn by the religious principles, the self-contained lifestyle, and, in some cases at least, the fact that women enjoyed equal status with men within the community. Everyone was welcome as long as he or she adhered to the Shaker tenets, which included celibacy, open confession of sins, common ownership of property, separation from the outside world, and a strong work ethic. Shakerism spread through New England and west and south to Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. By the 1840s, the Shakers were at the height of their popularity, with more than 4,000 Believers living in 16 communities in eight states. In the mid-1800s, with fewer families joining the ranks, the Shakers began absorbing hundreds of orphans, many of whom chose to remain in the community as adults.