Children & Youth
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2014-18


Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2014-18

What does this measure?

The proportion of single-parent families with children under 18 in various racial and ethnic groups.

Why is this important?

Single-parent families may experience more stress and economic strain than dual-parent households with two incomes. Children in these families can be at risk of poorer health and educational outcomes. However, children may also have opportunities to build resilience and experience a larger community through the support of extended family and friends. Racial and ethnic disparities in rates of single parenthood have several possible causes, including current and historic policies that have placed particular strain on African American families, as well as broader changes in social attitudes about gender roles, marriage and single parenthood.

How is our county performing?

In 2014-18, 37% of white, 55% of African American and 58% of Hispanic families in Berks County were single-parent families. The rate increased for white families (up 10 points) and Hispanic families (up 11 points) since 2000. The county's rates for Hispanics and white families was higher than the state and nations. Fewer African-American families in Berks County were headed by single-parents when compared to Pennsylvania and the US. Rates in Berks were also fairly comparable to Lancaster.

Within Berks County, the City of Reading's rates were higher, with 59% of white and 58% of Hispanic families headed by a single parent. Child populations for most other local areas, when broken down by race and ethnicity, were too small to yield reliable survey results.

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.

The multiyear 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.

Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2014-18
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Pennsylvania16%73%54%33%
Berks County4%******55%58%37%
Berks County Regions
Central20%******54%**57%52%
Northeast0%******0%******38%******28%
South1%******56%**66%**38%
Southeast0%******64%******0%******29%
West0%******45%******59%****34%
Reading city15%******54%**58%59%
Berks County Peers
Chester County8%**60%37%26%
Lancaster County19%****58%58%29%
Lebanon County16%******71%**62%36%
Lehigh County11%****77%59%38%
Montgomery County9%**61%38%28%
Schuylkill County39%******64%******28%****40%

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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2014-18
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Pennsylvania9,402137,35466,201396,365
Berks County31******1,6987,37815,412
Berks County Regions
Central26******950**5,2744,427
Northeast0******0******118******1,874
South5******589**1,664**4,765
Southeast0******113******0******1,917
West0******46******322****2,434
Reading city7******727**4,6053,352
Berks County Peers
Chester County396**2,3501,85814,667
Lancaster County278****1,8534,81316,046
Lebanon County42******442**1,6135,116
Lehigh County220****3,6878,41113,484
Montgomery County880**7,2692,27323,225
Schuylkill County36******121******174****6,385

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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2000
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Pennsylvania16%70%46%27%
Berks County8%62%47%27%
Berks County Regions
Central9%62%50%45%
Northeast0%33%28%20%
South9%70%26%26%
Southeast0%64%0%20%
West33%5%48%22%
Reading city9%63%51%50%
Berks County Peers
Chester County12%60%26%20%
Lancaster County20%66%48%24%
Lebanon County21%35%53%28%
Lehigh County8%64%47%28%
Montgomery County14%59%39%22%
Schuylkill County0%70%32%30%

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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2000
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Pennsylvania4,987143,53526,485370,334
Berks County391,3142,68712,108
Berks County Regions
Central191,0142,4854,313
Northeast06271,520
South162431233,074
Southeast04901,362
West42501,704
Reading city191,0012,4383,096
Berks County Peers
Chester County1722,64557611,047
Lancaster County2071,5592,10914,204
Lebanon County40595064,208
Lehigh County931,2252,50810,007
Montgomery County6835,91684219,984
Schuylkill County064315,376

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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




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