Economy
Public Assistance Per Resident


Public Assistance Per Resident

What does this measure?

Income to individuals from governmental programs (welfare/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, unemployment and food stamps), expressed on a per capita basis.

Why is this important?

Per capita income from governmental programs is one measure of a region's overall poverty. It takes into account not just the relative frequency of poor individuals, but also the average level of poverty experienced.

How is our county doing?

In 2017, Berks County received $2,840 in public assistance income per resident. This was less than Pennsylvania as a whole, at $3,070, but more than the nation, at $2,630. Berks received more public assistance per resident in 2017 than any neighboring county except Lehigh, which was similar, at $2,850.

Between 2001 and 2017, public assistance per resident in Berks County increased 78% (after inflation), compared to 65% statewide and 55% nationally. The increase in Berks County was less than in neighboring Chester (86%), but more than Lancaster (72%) and Montgomery counties (78%), Lebanon (63%), Lehigh (59%) and Schuylkill (67%) counties.

Notes about the data

Figures are in constant 2017 dollars. This data is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Eligibility requirements for many public assistance programs vary from state to state. Families are eligible for temporary assistance benefits for up to 60 months, although most receive assistance for shorter periods.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Public Assistance Per Resident
20012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
United States$1,693$1,817$1,890$1,991$2,043$1,962$2,031$2,051$2,289$2,428$2,391$2,377$2,412$2,516$2,643$2,665$2,631
Pennsylvania$1,864$1,942$2,041$2,191$2,354$2,188$2,247$2,247$2,451$2,681$2,692$2,664$2,705$2,804$2,975$3,266$3,069
Berks County$1,599$1,689$1,750$1,925$2,141$2,097$1,965$2,003$2,235$2,460$2,497$2,513$2,553$2,609$2,781$3,036$2,844
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County$818$852$902$983$1,085$1,031$1,077$1,047$1,202$1,371$1,381$1,352$1,360$1,431$1,508$1,630$1,518
Lancaster County$1,228$1,328$1,386$1,527$1,690$1,573$1,549$1,588$1,769$1,983$1,991$1,975$2,017$2,057$2,144$2,270$2,116
Lebanon County$1,485$1,594$1,593$1,803$1,948$1,751$1,695$1,760$1,934$2,109$2,125$2,100$2,190$2,216$2,354$2,595$2,414
Lehigh County$1,796$1,914$1,966$2,083$2,300$2,111$2,161$2,173$2,304$2,506$2,470$2,457$2,501$2,602$2,770$3,057$2,852
Montgomery County$1,093$1,150$1,230$1,343$1,410$1,285$1,357$1,353$1,534$1,719$1,703$1,699$1,697$1,845$1,973$2,097$1,948
Schuylkill County$1,644$1,746$1,824$2,029$2,122$1,985$2,019$2,051$2,168$2,293$2,374$2,295$2,309$2,517$2,662$2,892$2,746

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Notes: Figures are in constant 2016 dollars.




Public Assistance
20012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
United States482,336,921,513522,571,586,882548,404,045,217582,930,136,157603,818,542,140585,554,717,460611,744,294,161623,585,471,266702,303,642,169749,774,525,443745,291,686,724746,319,157,469762,652,258,056801,589,283,590848,371,864,634861,800,442,820857,127,000,000
Pennsylvania22,922,241,09123,945,091,53325,258,054,69227,191,940,17129,303,021,63927,371,150,93028,236,572,75828,334,824,81831,051,697,44534,057,307,06734,299,211,95734,011,802,32434,571,458,29635,859,638,72438,049,756,37741,762,054,84439,294,728,000
Berks County603,768,899644,076,985675,071,137752,366,579847,776,324842,612,159796,244,554816,610,512916,333,6191,012,374,5121,031,030,9121,039,242,0091,057,112,5531,081,808,8161,154,905,0161,261,985,9811,188,242,000
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County360,820,515381,366,661410,570,671455,118,677510,541,157494,175,781523,477,592514,334,972596,595,735684,408,368695,081,856684,650,009692,604,444733,678,486776,937,437841,905,450788,337,000
Lancaster County583,886,636637,773,899672,388,139748,070,166836,167,953788,036,483784,719,272812,961,656914,067,9351,030,098,4321,043,043,9601,040,308,5661,069,227,7141,097,874,3151,150,549,0191,224,067,0231,149,046,000
Lebanon County179,631,022194,046,748196,185,256224,777,246245,856,741224,715,219220,668,529231,570,848257,109,956281,770,642285,677,112284,527,059297,287,587302,517,194323,747,201359,500,891337,333,000
Lehigh County565,501,944607,371,662632,107,197679,446,947762,170,078710,828,546736,733,718749,134,573800,204,481876,401,573872,953,200871,924,020889,270,111931,809,284998,696,1771,110,173,2951,045,170,000
Montgomery County830,381,024880,765,620950,270,2921,043,066,7011,099,047,5441,004,213,8411,065,311,2251,067,731,4851,220,682,4501,374,995,9951,370,892,0551,374,224,9651,378,984,0051,505,157,9021,613,362,3681,721,158,9491,608,783,000
Schuylkill County245,187,820259,680,046269,500,115298,494,912311,823,264293,784,102299,666,772304,462,577321,653,946339,981,809350,067,438337,423,544338,298,576365,422,795383,068,192414,519,534391,557,000

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Notes: Figures are in constant 2016 dollars.




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 Maintaining
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Maintaining
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 Increasing
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 Increasing
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