Berks County’s overall population is aging. However, the county’s Asian American, Hispanic and African American populations are growing significantly, and these residents tend to be younger. In another measure of the county’s vitality, its home vacancy rate is lower than the state and national rates, and is holding steady.
Population measures provide insight on how communities are changing in size and composition, as well as potential needs for public services. From 2000 to 2013-17 in Berks, there was more growth in older age brackets among both men and women. This included increases of 21% among women 60-84 and 57% among men 85 and older. This trend was generally similar to Pennsylvania and the U.S.
Changes in population by race and ethnicity can offer insight into a community’s level of diversity, which also may reflect particular challenges and opportunities. From 2000 to 2013-17, Berks County’s Hispanic population more than doubled, while its Asian population increased 62% and its African American population rose 62%. The county’s white population increased slightly (4%). These population changes were similar to the state and national levels.
The foreign-born population offers another measure. In 2013-17, 7% of Berks County’s population was foreign-born, up 3 percentage points from 2000. This percentage was similar to Pennsylvania, but less than the nation. In addition, 18% of Berks residents spoke a language other than English at home, up 5 percentage points since 2000. Both the state and nation had increases similar to Berks during this period.
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