Housing
Rent as Percentage of Household Income


Rent as Percentage of Household Income

What does this measure?

The proportion of household income that goes toward monthly rent, utilities and fuel, calculated by dividing median rent by median household income for renters.

Why is this important?

This figure indicates how affordable housing is for renters. The federal Housing and Urban Development Department guideline for affordability is that rent should consume no more than 30% of household income.

How is our county performing?

In 2013-17, Berks County renters spent 34% of their income on rent, similar to the state and slightly more than the nation, at 32%. The proportion in Berks increased 9 percentage points since 2000, a larger increase than in Pennsylvania (7 points) and the U.S. (6 points).

Renting was least affordable for residents in the City of Reading, where renters spent 45% of their income on rent in 2013-17, up from 30% in 2000. In the Central region of the county, renters spent 35% of their income on rent, compared to 24% in the South, 20% in the Southeast, and 23% in the Northeast and the West.

Surrounding counties were similar to Berks - renters spent a similar proportion of their income on rent in Lehigh County and slightly less in Lancaster and Montgomery (both at 30%), and Chester (at 31%). Renters spent less in Lebanon (26%) and Schuylkill (29%).

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.

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

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. 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.

Rent as Percentage of Household Income
20002008-122013-17
United States26%33%32%
Pennsylvania26%33%33%
Berks County25%33%34%
Berks County Regions
Central17%29%35%
Northeast13%22%24%
South14%25%24%
Southeast13%25%21%
West13%20%23%
Reading city30%42%45%
Berks County Peers
Chester County23%30%31%
Lancaster County23%30%30%
Lebanon County22%28%26%
Lehigh County27%35%34%
Montgomery County24%30%30%
Schuylkill County23%29%29%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Rent considered affordable if less than 30% of income. 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%.








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 Maintaining
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