Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity

Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity

What does this measure?

The number of residents with a particular level of education in a region, expressed as a percentage of all residents 25 and older, broken down by race and ethnicity.

Why is this important?

An educated population makes a more attractive workforce. Well-educated workers likely have access to more economic opportunities than workers with less education. High educational attainment represents a region's investment in human capital and preparation for long-term growth. Large disparities between education levels by race can signal disparities in access to opportunities by race.

How is our county performing?

In 2011-15, the share of Berks County residents who held a bachelor's degree or higher was highest among Asian Americans, at 38%, followed by whites, 24%, African Americans, 15%, and Hispanics, 9%. At the state level, more Asian American (53%), white (30%) and Hispanic residents (14%) had college degrees than in Berks, while the proportion for African Americans was similar (16%). Pennsylvania was similar to the U.S. except that slightly more African Americans had a bachelor's degree or higher at the national level (19%). In the City of Reading, a smaller share of residents of all races had college degrees than in the county as a whole (24% of Asian Americans, 11% of whites, 7% of African Americans, and 6% of Hispanics).

Since 2000, the share of residents without a high school degree declined among all racial and ethnic groups in Berks County, ranging from a 7.6 percentage-point drop among whites to about 13 points among African Americans and Hispanics. All groups had increases in their share of residents who had attended some college or earned a college degree, except Asian Americans, who had a slight decline of 2.4 percentage points among people with at least a bachelor's.

Among neighboring counties in 2011-15, while racial and ethnic disparities persisted, Chester and Montgomery counties had larger shares of all groups with at least a bachelor's degree. Lehigh had higher percentages of Asian Americans (60%) and whites (30%) with college degrees, but was fairly similar to Berks among African Americans and Hispanics. Schuylkill had a smaller share of residents with college degrees than Berks for all racial groups except Hispanics. Lancaster generally similar education levels to Berks.

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.

Adults are people 25 and older. The multi-year figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five 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.

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