Quality of life in a community is made up of many components – including physical assets such as the environment and technology, and a community’s residents and their level of involvement.

Berks County residents’ engagement in their community and political process is increasing. Of voting-age residents, 77% of voting-age Berks residents were registered to vote and 44% voted in the 2018 election. While both voter registration and participation have increased in Berks County since 2000, they are both below state levels. When comparing to neighboring counties, Chester and Montgomery both had higher voter registration and voter participation than Berks County, while in contrast Schuylkill County had lower voter registration and participation.

Another measure of residents’ engagement in their community is the level of charitable giving, which shows residents’ willingness to invest in programs and organizations that serve their community. The average charitable donation in Berks County is lower than the average for the state of Pennsylvania or for the country as a whole, but higher than most neighboring counties. When considered in terms of residents’ income, Berks County residents contributed 1.0% of their income, a similar rate to the state and the country. 

Tourism can bring important economic activity to an area, providing jobs as well as the potential for regional pride. Over $961 million was spent on travel and tourism in Berks County in 2019, good for $2,284 per county resident. Tourism spending increased by only 6% from 2005 to 2019, while the state as whole experienced a 15% increase.

Access to the Internet is crucial for households to communicate and search for jobs. In 2015-19, 83% of households in Berks County had access to the Internet, similar to Pennsylvania and the U.S. When compared to neighboring counties, Berks had a similar share of households with internet access, though Chester and Montgomery (89% and 90% respectively) counties had higher rates of access.

Beyond jobs and community engagement, environmental factors can affect community life. In 2018, there were 658 pounds per square mile of toxic chemical releases in Berks County. This was higher than the state and nation. A "release" of a chemical means that it is emitted to the air or water, or placed in some type of land disposal. For more information regarding the toxic release inventory data view the Factors to Consider When Using TRI Data.

Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Maintaining
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households by type Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Seniors Living Alone Maintaining
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Decreasing
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 Not Applicable
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Maintaining
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Receiving Supplemental Security Income Increasing
Health Status Not Applicable
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Cost of Homeownership Maintaining
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
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 Not Applicable
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Toxic Chemical Releases Decreasing
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing