Demographics
Foreign-Born Population


Foreign-Born Population

What does this measure?

The percentage of the population in a region that is foreign-born, which includes anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. People who become U.S. citizens through naturalization are considered foreign-born.

Why is this important?

Foreign-born Americans and their descendants have historically been a main driver of population growth, and that role will only increase in the future. According to the Pew Research Center, new immigrants and their children and grandchildren accounted for 55% of the U.S. population increase from 1965 to 2015, from 193 million to 324 million. Pew projects the population will grow to 441 million in 2065, and 88% of the increase is linked to future immigrants and their descendants. This measure also is a reflection of the composition of a community, which can offer insight into its levels of diversity.

How is our county performing?

In 2012-16, 7% of Berks County's population was foreign-born, up 4 percentage points from 2000. This was similar to Pennsylvania, at 6%, and less than the nation, at 13%.

Within the county, the Central region had the highest rate of foreign-born residents at 8%. This was up 7 percentage points from 2000. In the other regions, foreign-born residents represented 5% or less of the population, representing increases of 2 to 4 percentage points since 2000. In the City of Reading, the foreign-born population in 2012-16 was 19%, up 7 percentage points from 2000.

Among neighboring counties, there were smaller foreign-born populations in Schuylkill (2%) and Lebanon (4%), while Lancaster was closer to Berks (5%). There were larger foreign-born populations in Chester (9%), Montgomery (10%) and Lehigh (11%). The largest increases in this population from 2000 to 2012-16 were in Montgomery, Chester and Lehigh (up 9, 8, and 7 percentage points respectively), with the other counties increasing by 3 percentage points or less in the same time period.

Notes on the data

For additional detail as to how the Berks County regions are defined and which boroughs and townships are included in each, see the About Us page.

The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined 5 years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Foreign-Born Population
20002007-112012-16
United States11%13%13%
Pennsylvania1%6%6%
Berks County3%6%7%
Berks County Regions
Central9%14%16%
Northeast0%2%3%
South1%5%5%
Southeast1%2%3%
West1%3%3%
Reading city12%17%19%
Berks County Peers
Chester County1%8%9%
Lancaster County2%5%5%
Lebanon County2%3%4%
Lehigh County4%9%11%
Montgomery County1%10%10%
Schuylkill County0%2%2%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




Number of Foreign-Born People
20002007-112012-16
United States31,107,88939,268,83842,194,354
Pennsylvania152,268723,426818,363
Berks County11,89425,75329,202
Berks County Regions
Central9,99316,73619,030
Northeast2911,0351,704
South8765,3725,081
Southeast2499591,547
West4351,6511,840
Reading city9,64714,90716,806
Berks County Peers
Chester County4,22042,04447,128
Lancaster County10,68823,27424,378
Lebanon County2,3634,0655,207
Lehigh County11,36732,67237,999
Montgomery County5,69875,56984,438
Schuylkill County5942,6492,688

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




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
Vacant 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