Children & Youth
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17


Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17

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 2013-17, 35% of white, 57% of African American and 53% of Hispanic families in Berks County were single-parent families, as were 5% of Asian families. The rate increased for white families (up 6 points) and Hispanic families (up 8 points) since 2000. The county's rates for Hispanics were similar to rates in the state, lower for African Americans and higher for White families. Rates in Berks were also fairly comparable to Lancaster.

Within Berks County, the City of Reading's rates were higher, with 55% of white and Hispanic families, 62% of African American families and 17% of Asian families headed by a single parent.

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, 2013-17
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States20%66%41%33%
Pennsylvania15%72%53%33%
Berks County5%******57%53%35%
Berks County Regions
Central13%******61%**54%48%
Northeast35%******28%
South1%******51%****58%**36%
Southeast56%******15%******29%
West22%******49%******52%******33%
Reading city17%******62%**55%55%
Berks County Peers
Chester County9%**62%35%25%
Lancaster County18%****56%55%28%
Lebanon County22%******64%****63%35%
Lehigh County8%******72%59%37%
Montgomery County9%**62%40%27%
Schuylkill County46%******60%******31%****37%

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, 2013-17
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States452,3193,575,7763,156,7539,375,772
Pennsylvania8,586131,35060,564390,734
Berks County39******1,6306,23714,428
Berks County Regions
Central18******1,043**4,6753,839
Northeast128******1,851
South7******431****1,156**4,508
Southeast108******20******1,885
West14******48******258******2,346
Reading city6******827**4,1842,879
Berks County Peers
Chester County432**2,3071,73714,391
Lancaster County272****1,6654,28815,818
Lebanon County56******313****1,6055,039
Lehigh County160******3,1028,08713,120
Montgomery County783**7,2072,23023,038
Schuylkill County28******74******214****5,877

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
United States15%59%32%23%
Pennsylvania16%70%46%27%
Berks County8%62%47%27%
Berks County Regions
Central9%62%50%45%
Northeast33%28%20%
South9%70%26%26%
Southeast64%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 County70%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
United States212,8153,241,0351,722,0116,318,036
Pennsylvania4,987143,53526,485370,334
Berks County391,3142,68712,108
Berks County Regions
Central191,0142,4854,313
Northeast6271,520
South162431233,074
Southeast491,362
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 County64315,376

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.




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY
Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Maintaining
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Decreasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population ratio Increasing
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 County/Region for Work Increasing
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Quality Early Childhood Centers Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 English Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 English Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Maintaining
Living Wage Maintaining
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Increasing
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
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 Decreasing
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing