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Census: Allegheny County's youngest population grows

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 11:31 p.m.

Many of Allegheny County's newest residents are also some of its youngest.

Bucking national, state and regional trends, the county saw an increase in its number of people younger than 5 years old between 2010 and 2012, according to Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

Paris and Jay Wellons of Homestead said they know a lot of other couples with kids as young as theirs, Paris Jr., 6, and Reeji, 19 months.

“Every time we turn around, it seems like we're going to a baby shower,” Jay Wellons said.

The annual demographic estimates from the Census Bureau show that Allegheny County gained about 586 newborns and toddlers during the two-year period. That 0.9 percent increase compares to a 0.9 percent decrease nationally, a 1.2 percent drop in Pennsylvania and a 1 percent drop in the 10-county region around Pittsburgh.

Chris Briem, a regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh, said the number supports other statistics that show Allegheny County and Pittsburgh are getting younger.

One factor driving the increase is a corresponding increase in 20- and 30-something adults who are moving to the area to take jobs, he said.

Michael and Megan Beakley brought their two young children — Maya, 6, and Bikila, 4 — when they moved from Dallas to Greensburg to East Liberty in August.

“The main reason is that Meg wanted to get her master's in social work and Pitt has a great program,” said Michael Beakley, 36.

Michael is a Lubbock, Texas, native but Megan is from Greensburg, so the move also allowed them to spend more time with her family, he said.

“We really enjoy it,” he said. “The city is beautiful. There's a lot of diversity, which is important to us because our son is adopted from Ethiopia.”

Her husband's job brought Sue Risley and her family from St. Louis to Ohio Township about a year ago. Although her son is in high school, the neighborhood has many younger families, she said from her front porch.

“I am shocked at how many babies,” Risley said, pointing to houses down the street. “Babies next door, down the street and next to them.”

Staff writer Aaron Aupperlee contributed to this story. Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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