Marriage rates high, divorce rates drop in York County


Born and raised in York County, Lindsey Keeney didn't necessarily grow up picturing herself with a husband, she said.

But after six years of living in a domestic partnership with Pete Richards, she said it "sounded stupid saying we're boyfriend and girlfriend," so she asked Richards to marry her just before a winter trip to Europe last year.

As of June 13, 2015, she is Lindsey Keeney Richards.

The newlyweds, both 37, are now part of a demographic that is higher in York County than the state and national average, according to recently released 2014 U.S. Census Bureau data.

Local stats: The data, which estimate local statistics for more than 40 topics each year based on survey results, estimate that 55.5 percent of men and nearly 53 percent of women over the age of 15 in York County are married. That majority does not exist throughout Pennsylvania or nationwide, where the data estimates those percentages at 49.5 percent for men and about 46 percent for women.

Laura Steck, a behavioral science and sociology professor at York College, said marriage rates tend to be higher in more traditional, socially conservative areas.

Pete Richards said he hears the traditional questions all the time.

"I think it started with one of my relatives asking, 'So, when are you guys getting married?'" Pete Richards said. "Now we get asked, 'So, when's the baby coming?'"

He and his wife each expressed a hesitancy to rush into marriage after witnessing close friends going through multiple divorces.

Divorce: Steck said divorce rates are often tied to economic factors.

"Typically, in an economic recession, divorce rates slow because divorce is too expensive," she said.

The data estimate nearly 9 percent of York County men and about 10.5 percent of women over 15 are divorced. Those numbers represent a smaller percentage than the national averages (nearly 10 percent of men and 12 percent of women) and a decline from the county's 2013 numbers (about 10.5 percent of men and nearly 13 percent of women), but are about on par with county data from five years earlier.

The Richards, owners of the Sign of the Wagon concert venue, each said they feel confident they've found their lifelong partner. Their lifestyle hasn't changed much since marriage.

"The biggest physical change is this metal around my finger, and it's fun to refer to Lindsey as my wife," Pete Richards said, pondering what else has changed. "Oh, and I'm excited for taxes!"

— Reach David Weissman at