Millennials in York, across U.S. wait to start families

Last Updated: Jun. 12, 2015

June 3, 2015 | By Jessica Schladebeck

Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, who have been credited with coining the term millennial generation, suggest that there are specific traits that categorize each generation, and a recent study suggests that a rush to reproduce is not among those traits that define millennials.

The Urban Institute in April released a study that revealed those who entered adulthood during the United States' biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, the recession of 2007-2009, have opted to wait to start their families.

According to the study, from 2007 to 2012 birthrates among women in their 20s born between 1980 and 1995, or the millennial generation, declined more than 15 percent nationwide, a trend that also is represented in York County.

The researchers found U.S. birthrates among women ages 20 to 29 began to slip after 2007, falling from 1,118 in 1,000 women to 948 in 1,000 women in 2012.
In York: In 2007, there were a total of 5,281 live births recorded in York County, and in 2012, 4.733 were recorded, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health's vital statistics.

Overall the county saw a 10.38 percent decrease in its birthrate.

In 2007, women in their 20s, the study's focus, gave birth to 2,828 children in York County, while the same age group had 2,582 babies in 2012, according to the same records.

Birthrates recorded for 20-somethings decreased by 8.6 percent in York County.

Women in York County just outside the study's focal age range also recorded a decreased birthrate, but one that was less significant.

In 2007, for women ages 30 to 34 there were 1,256 births recorded, and in 2012 there were 1,112, a decrease of only 3.58 percent.

Statewide, Pennsylvania experienced a 6.26 percent decrease in its birthrate between 2007 and 2012.

What it means: Nan Marie Astone, Steven Martin and H. Elizabeth Peters in the report said that it was the recession's "painfully slow recovery, which was even slower for young adults" that contributed to lower birthrates, adding , "Previous historical low points for 20-something fertility rates occurred in the early 1930s and late 1970s and coincided with other times of economic stress."

The decreased birthrates could mean several changes are ahead, the authors said.

The first is a temporary drop in the number of young children, which will affect things such as school slots and the number of vaccinations produced.

Also, the authors suggest that should these women not make up the deficit in their later reproductive years, there could be a generational imbalance distinguished by an increased aging population compared to the younger working population.