Demographics






Berks County’s overall population is aging. However, the county’s Asian American, Hispanic and African American populations are growing significantly, and these residents tend to be younger. In another measure of the county’s vitality, its home vacancy rate is lower than the state and national rates, and is holding steady.

Population measures provide insight on how communities are changing in size and composition, as well as potential needs for public services. From 2000 to 2011-15 in Berks, there was more growth in older age brackets among both men and women. This included increases of 49% among women 60-69 and 60% among men 60-69. This trend was generally similar to Pennsylvania and the U.S. 

Changes in population by race and ethnicity can offer insight into a community’s level of diversity, which also may reflect particular challenges and opportunities. From 2000 to 2011-15, Berks County’s Hispanic population more than doubled, while its Asian population increased 54% and its African American population rose 50%. The county’s white population increased slightly (5%). Despite these shifts, white people still outnumbered Hispanic people by a margin of 9 to 1. These population changes were similar to the state and national levels.

These growing racial and ethnic groups are typically younger than white residents are. In 2016, 41% of Hispanics, 40% of African Americans and 33% of Asians were under 20, while only 25% of whites were. More Hispanics, African Americans and Asians fell in the “under 20” age bracket in Berks than in Pennsylvania and the U.S. as a whole.

The foreign-born population offers another measure. In 2011-15, 7% of Berks County’s population was foreign-born, up 3 percentage points from 2000. This percentage was similar to Pennsylvania, but less than the nation. In addition, 17% of Berks residents spoke a language other than English at home, up 4 percentage points since 2000. Both the state and nation had increases similar to Berks during this period.





INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY
Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population Ratio Decreasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving Region for Work Not Applicable
Public Assistance Increasing
Local Government Spending Increasing
County Government Spending Decreasing
School District Spending Increasing
Quality Early Childhood Centers Increasing
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance on High School Reading Increasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Median Household Income Decreasing
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage by Household Type Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
Health Status Decreasing
Managed Medicaid Enrollment Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Maintaining
Adults Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Children Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Youth Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Occupied Housing Units Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Not Applicable
Single-Family Home Sales Maintaining
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Increasing
Tourism Spending Decreasing
Voter Registration Rate Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Increasing
Charitable Contributions as a Percentage of Income Increasing
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Decreasing
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing