Demographics
Language Diversity


Language Diversity

What does this measure?

The share of people 5 and older in a geographic area who speak a language other than English at home. This includes both people who speak English well and those who do not.

Why is this important?

Language diversity can indicate a growing bilingual or multilingual population. It may also indicate a need for language instruction or bilingual services and communication.

How is our county performing?

In 2011-15, 17% of Berks County residents spoke a language other than English at home, up 4 percentage points since 2000. This was higher than Pennsylvania, at 11%, but less than the U.S., at 21%. Both the state and nation had increases similar to Berks during this period.

Within the county, the largest percentage of residents who spoke a language other than English at home was highest by far in the Central region, at 42%, up 13 percentage points since 2000. Other regions ranged from 7% to 9%, while the percentage in the Southeast was too small to make accurate comparisons. In the City of Reading, roughly half of residents spoke a language other than English at home, up 15 percentage points since 2000.

Compared to Berks County, there were lower rates in Schuylkill (5%), Lebanon (11%), Chester (12%) and Montgomery (13%) counties. The percentage was similar to Berks in Lancaster (16%) and higher in Lehigh (23%). Most counties saw increases since 2000 that were similar to Berks, with the exception of Lehigh, which increased 7 percentage points.

Notes about 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.

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

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.

Language Diversity
20002006-102011-15
United States18%20%21%
Pennsylvania8%10%11%
Berks County13%16%17%
Berks County Regions
Central29%38%42%
Northeast7%6%*7%
South6%10%9%
Southeast4%4%***4%*
West6%8%*8%
Reading city36%48%51%
Berks County Peers
Chester County9%11%12%
Lancaster County13%16%16%
Lebanon County8%9%11%
Lehigh County15%20%23%
Montgomery County10%12%13%
Schuylkill County4%5%5%

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 People who Speak a Language Other Than English at Home
20002006-102011-15
United States46,951,59557,095,37362,431,447
Pennsylvania972,4841,175,1911,284,370
Berks County44,44261,79966,288
Berks County Regions
Central29,01241,32246,056
Northeast4,0273,960*4,051
South5,7179,7669,389
Southeast1,8081,982***2,158*
West3,5404,769*4,634
Reading city27,06338,20040,965
Berks County Peers
Chester County35,41452,26357,244
Lancaster County57,46874,41278,174
Lebanon County9,03911,13413,741
Lehigh County44,79565,76376,327
Montgomery County67,60087,567101,360
Schuylkill County6,4116,9766,350

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
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