Economy
Public Assistance Per Resident


Public Assistance Per Resident

What does this measure?

Income to individuals from governmental programs (welfare/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, unemployment and food stamps), expressed on a per capita basis.

Why is this important?

Per capita income from governmental programs is one measure of a region's overall poverty. It takes into account not just the relative frequency of poor individuals, but also the average level of poverty experienced.

How is our county doing?

In 2017, Berks County received $2,840 in public assistance income per resident. This was less than Pennsylvania as a whole, at $3,070, but more than the nation, at $2,630. Berks received more public assistance per resident in 2017 than any neighboring county except Lehigh, which was similar, at $2,850.

Between 2001 and 2017, public assistance per resident in Berks County increased 78% (after inflation), compared to 65% statewide and 55% nationally. The increase in Berks County was less than in neighboring Chester (86%), but more than Lancaster (72%) and Montgomery counties (78%), Lebanon (63%), Lehigh (59%) and Schuylkill (67%) counties.

Notes about the data

Figures are in constant 2017 dollars. This data is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Eligibility requirements for many public assistance programs vary from state to state. Families are eligible for temporary assistance benefits for up to 60 months, although most receive assistance for shorter periods.

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

Public Assistance Per Resident
20012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
United States$1,693$1,817$1,890$1,991$2,043$1,962$2,031$2,051$2,289$2,428$2,391$2,377$2,412$2,516$2,643$2,665$2,631
Pennsylvania$1,864$1,942$2,041$2,191$2,354$2,188$2,247$2,247$2,451$2,681$2,692$2,664$2,705$2,804$2,975$3,266$3,069
Berks County$1,599$1,689$1,750$1,925$2,141$2,097$1,965$2,003$2,235$2,460$2,497$2,513$2,553$2,609$2,781$3,036$2,844
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County$818$852$902$983$1,085$1,031$1,077$1,047$1,202$1,371$1,381$1,352$1,360$1,431$1,508$1,630$1,518
Lancaster County$1,228$1,328$1,386$1,527$1,690$1,573$1,549$1,588$1,769$1,983$1,991$1,975$2,017$2,057$2,144$2,270$2,116
Lebanon County$1,485$1,594$1,593$1,803$1,948$1,751$1,695$1,760$1,934$2,109$2,125$2,100$2,190$2,216$2,354$2,595$2,414
Lehigh County$1,796$1,914$1,966$2,083$2,300$2,111$2,161$2,173$2,304$2,506$2,470$2,457$2,501$2,602$2,770$3,057$2,852
Montgomery County$1,093$1,150$1,230$1,343$1,410$1,285$1,357$1,353$1,534$1,719$1,703$1,699$1,697$1,845$1,973$2,097$1,948
Schuylkill County$1,644$1,746$1,824$2,029$2,122$1,985$2,019$2,051$2,168$2,293$2,374$2,295$2,309$2,517$2,662$2,892$2,746

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Notes: Figures are in constant 2016 dollars.




Public Assistance
20012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
United States482,336,921,513522,571,586,882548,404,045,217582,930,136,157603,818,542,140585,554,717,460611,744,294,161623,585,471,266702,303,642,169749,774,525,443745,291,686,724746,319,157,469762,652,258,056801,589,283,590848,371,864,634861,800,442,820857,127,000,000
Pennsylvania22,922,241,09123,945,091,53325,258,054,69227,191,940,17129,303,021,63927,371,150,93028,236,572,75828,334,824,81831,051,697,44534,057,307,06734,299,211,95734,011,802,32434,571,458,29635,859,638,72438,049,756,37741,762,054,84439,294,728,000
Berks County603,768,899644,076,985675,071,137752,366,579847,776,324842,612,159796,244,554816,610,512916,333,6191,012,374,5121,031,030,9121,039,242,0091,057,112,5531,081,808,8161,154,905,0161,261,985,9811,188,242,000
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County360,820,515381,366,661410,570,671455,118,677510,541,157494,175,781523,477,592514,334,972596,595,735684,408,368695,081,856684,650,009692,604,444733,678,486776,937,437841,905,450788,337,000
Lancaster County583,886,636637,773,899672,388,139748,070,166836,167,953788,036,483784,719,272812,961,656914,067,9351,030,098,4321,043,043,9601,040,308,5661,069,227,7141,097,874,3151,150,549,0191,224,067,0231,149,046,000
Lebanon County179,631,022194,046,748196,185,256224,777,246245,856,741224,715,219220,668,529231,570,848257,109,956281,770,642285,677,112284,527,059297,287,587302,517,194323,747,201359,500,891337,333,000
Lehigh County565,501,944607,371,662632,107,197679,446,947762,170,078710,828,546736,733,718749,134,573800,204,481876,401,573872,953,200871,924,020889,270,111931,809,284998,696,1771,110,173,2951,045,170,000
Montgomery County830,381,024880,765,620950,270,2921,043,066,7011,099,047,5441,004,213,8411,065,311,2251,067,731,4851,220,682,4501,374,995,9951,370,892,0551,374,224,9651,378,984,0051,505,157,9021,613,362,3681,721,158,9491,608,783,000
Schuylkill County245,187,820259,680,046269,500,115298,494,912311,823,264293,784,102299,666,772304,462,577321,653,946339,981,809350,067,438337,423,544338,298,576365,422,795383,068,192414,519,534391,557,000

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Notes: Figures are in constant 2016 dollars.




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