Health






Critical factors in human health include access to health care and lifestyle indicators such as exercise. In Berks County, most residents have health insurance but many are overweight or obese and a significant share do not regularly engage in physical activity.

Just 9% of Berks County residents under 65 lacked health insurance, on par with the state, and slightly better than the national rate of 11%. Reaching a low uninsured rate and ensuring that residents have access to medical care and are able to maintain financial stability is possible in part through government and state assistance to those who cannot afford healthcare. Berks County had 17% of its residents enrolled in Medicaid managed care, again on par with the state. Both the state and county have experienced a 3% increase since 2015 in the proportion of their residents that are enrolled in these services. The percentage of Medicaid managed care enrollees rose in all neighboring counties from 2015 to 2016 as the state entered its second year of expanded Medicaid eligibility, with Berks’ increase falling in the middle of nearby counties’ 2 to 4 percentage point increases.

Residents’ current health level is as important as their access to healthcare. Berks County residents display health levels similar to the state and nation. In Berks County, 17% of residents report being in fair or poor health, indicating that the majority of residents perceived their overall health as good, very good, or even excellent. Despite this, almost a quarter of Berks County residents had not engaged in leisure-time physical activity in the past 30 days, raising concerns as to their future health status and potential higher healthcare costs. This level of physical inactivity has remained fairly flat in the past nine years. Unlike Berks, Chester and Lancaster counties have experienced a 4 percentage point decline in the share of adults that are physically inactive.

The majority (65%) of Berks County residents were overweight or obese, an increase of 4 percentage points since 2002. This increase was driven by an increase in the share of obese residents, even as the share of overweight residents declined. Berks County had a larger percentage of obese residents (34%) than either the state or the nation.

The share of overweight and obese children in Berks was smaller, but had increased at a faster rate with 37% of K-6th and 39% of 7-12th graders being overweight or obese, a 7 percentage point increase for both since 2009.





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