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 2018, Berks County received $3,185 in public assistance income per resident. This was less than Pennsylvania as a whole, at $3,471, but more than the nation, at $2,659. Berks received more public assistance per resident in 2018 than any neighboring county except Lehigh, which was similar, at $3,217.

Between 2001 and 2018, public assistance per resident in Berks County increased 94% (after inflation), compared to 82% statewide and 53% nationally. The increase in Berks County was less than in neighboring Chester (106%) and Montgomery counties (99%), but more than Lancaster (90%) Lebanon (78%), Lehigh (75%) and Schuylkill (84%) counties.

Notes about the data

Figures are in constant 2018 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
200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
United States$1,734$1,861$1,937$2,039$2,093$2,010$2,080$2,101$2,345$2,488$2,450$2,436$2,472$2,579$2,709$2,734$2,701$2,659
Pennsylvania$1,909$1,989$2,091$2,245$2,411$2,241$2,302$2,301$2,511$2,747$2,757$2,729$2,772$2,875$3,058$3,368$3,176$3,471
Berks County$1,639$1,730$1,792$1,972$2,194$2,148$2,013$2,052$2,290$2,520$2,558$2,575$2,616$2,675$2,856$3,124$2,938$3,185
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County$838$872$924$1,007$1,112$1,057$1,103$1,072$1,231$1,405$1,414$1,386$1,394$1,466$1,548$1,675$1,565$1,725
Lancaster County$1,258$1,361$1,420$1,564$1,731$1,612$1,587$1,627$1,813$2,032$2,040$2,023$2,067$2,110$2,205$2,341$2,192$2,386
Lebanon County$1,521$1,633$1,632$1,847$1,996$1,794$1,736$1,803$1,981$2,161$2,176$2,151$2,243$2,271$2,417$2,670$2,493$2,705
Lehigh County$1,840$1,961$2,014$2,134$2,357$2,162$2,214$2,226$2,361$2,568$2,530$2,518$2,563$2,670$2,848$3,150$2,948$3,217
Montgomery County$1,120$1,178$1,260$1,376$1,445$1,316$1,390$1,386$1,572$1,761$1,744$1,741$1,738$1,891$2,025$2,157$2,009$2,225
Schuylkill County$1,684$1,789$1,868$2,079$2,173$2,033$2,069$2,101$2,221$2,349$2,431$2,350$2,363$2,577$2,728$2,971$2,829$3,101

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




Public Assistance
200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
United States494,117,890,627535,335,278,505561,798,688,734597,168,071,556618,566,672,084599,856,757,659626,686,008,787638,816,403,938719,457,248,181768,087,596,934763,495,265,903764,547,832,387781,279,865,224821,042,755,550869,042,300,143883,218,001,275878,211,697,173869,928,000,000
Pennsylvania23,482,111,59324,529,944,92325,874,976,90827,856,097,09730,018,741,24828,039,685,03828,926,244,59729,026,896,44131,810,128,06134,889,149,01135,136,962,37334,842,532,82535,415,858,26736,763,814,53939,104,885,25943,053,606,98940,626,355,87344,455,183,000
Berks County618,515,816659,808,418691,559,596770,742,961868,483,067863,192,768815,692,645836,556,037938,714,8581,037,101,5281,056,213,6071,064,625,2581,082,932,2851,109,086,6771,185,913,4261,298,944,9031,226,868,5221,338,254,000
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County369,633,474390,681,455420,598,766466,234,847523,011,008506,245,912536,263,413526,897,486611,167,450701,124,886712,059,072701,372,429709,521,149751,919,809797,334,675865,695,429812,215,180900,697,000
Lancaster County598,147,933653,351,381688,811,066766,341,609856,591,165807,284,094803,885,861832,818,059936,393,8361,055,258,3511,068,520,0701,065,717,8651,095,343,3571,125,393,9521,181,221,1351,259,631,0631,186,066,7071,296,727,000
Lebanon County184,018,469198,786,295200,977,036230,267,379251,861,735230,203,837226,058,307237,226,913263,389,808288,652,826292,654,710291,476,567304,548,768310,114,005332,306,213369,732,765347,988,899382,221,000
Lehigh County579,314,200622,206,576647,546,270696,042,284780,785,908728,190,371754,728,271767,432,014819,749,293897,807,481894,274,882893,220,565910,990,330955,137,0501,024,578,6861,140,694,5631,077,072,0091,184,221,000
Montgomery County850,662,891902,278,119973,480,4271,068,543,3671,125,891,5291,028,741,5351,091,331,2081,093,810,5831,250,497,3401,408,579,9581,404,375,7801,407,790,0961,412,665,3751,542,571,2521,655,348,1301,769,114,3991,656,918,9671,843,491,000
Schuylkill County251,176,476266,022,672276,082,594305,785,582319,439,476300,959,711306,986,064311,899,006329,510,270348,285,787358,617,756345,665,037346,561,442374,610,158393,224,427426,417,470403,670,484440,588,000

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 Decreasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population ratio Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Decreasing
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 Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Decreasing
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 Decreasing
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