Berks County, Pennsylvania facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
The Reading area from the Pagoda
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
|Founded||March 11, 1752|
|• Total||866 sq mi (2,240 km2)|
|• Land||857 sq mi (2,220 km2)|
|• Water||9.2 sq mi (24 km2) 1.1%%|
| • Estimate
|• Density||485/sq mi (187/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||6th, 7th, 15th, 16th|
|Designated:||May 12, 1982|
Reading developed during the 1740s when the inhabitants of northern Lancaster County sent several petitions requesting that a separate county be established. With the help of German immigrant Conrad Weiser, the county was formed on March 11, 1752 from parts of Chester County, Lancaster County, and Philadelphia County.
It was named after the English county in which William Penn's family home lay - Berkshire, which is often abbreviated to Berks. Berks County began much larger than it is today. The northwestern parts of the county went to the founding of Northumberland County in 1772 and Schuylkill County in 1811, when it reached its current size. In 2005, Berks County was added to the Delaware Valley Planning Area due to a fast-growing population and close proximity to the other communities.
In 2016, former Strausstown borough merged with Upper Tulpehocken township. Strausstown is now considered a village within the county.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 866 square miles (2,240 km2), of which 857 square miles (2,220 km2) is land and 9.2 square miles (24 km2) (1.1%) is water. Most of the county is drained by the Schuylkill River, but an area in the northeast is drained by the Lehigh River via the Little Lehigh Creek and areas are drained by the Susquehanna River via the Swatara Creek in the northwest and the Conestoga River (which starts in Berks County between Morgantown and Elverson) in the extreme south.
- I-76 / Penna Turnpike
- US 22
- US 222
US 222 Bus.
- US 422
US 422 Bus.
- PA 10
- PA 12
- PA 23
- PA 61
- PA 100
- PA 272
- PA 501
- PA 724
- Schuylkill County (north)
- Lehigh County (northeast)
- Montgomery County (east)
- Chester County (southeast)
- Lancaster County (southwest)
- Lebanon County (west)
National protected area
State protected area
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2010 census, the county was 76.9% White non-Hispanic, 4.9% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, and 2.5% were two or more races. 16.4% of the population was of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.
As of the census of 2010, there were 411,442 people, 154,356 households, and 106,532 families residing in the county. The population density was 479 people per square mile (184.9/km²). There were 164,827 housing units at an average density of 191.9 per square mile (74.1/km²). was 76.9% White non-Hispanic, 4.9% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, and 2.5% were two or more races. 16.4% of the population was of Hispanic or Latino ancestry. Historically there was a large Pennsylvania Dutch population. It is known as part of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
According to Muninetguide, the median household income for Berks County, as of 2010, is $54,105. According to patchworknation.org Berks County is classified as a Monied 'Burb.
There were 154,356 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.1 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.
Metropolitan and Combined Statistical Area
- See also: List of Metropolitan Statistical Areas and List of Combined Statistical Areas
The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Berks County as the Reading, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census the metropolitan area ranked 10th most populous in the State of Pennsylvania and the 128th most populous in the United States with a population of 413,491. Berks County is also a part of the larger Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which combines the populations of Berks County as well as several counties around Philadelphia and in the states of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The Combined Statistical Area is the largest in the State of Pennsylvania and 8th most populous in the United States with a population of 7,067,807.
Arts and culture
The Reading Public Museum is an art, science, and history museum.
The Reading Buccaneers Drum and Bugle Corps are an all-age drum corps based in Berks County. The corps, founded in 1957, is a charter member Drum Corps Associates and an 11-time DCA World Champion.
Reading is home to one opera company, Berks Opera Company, founded in 2007 as Berks Opera Workshop. They were named Arts and Entertainment Newsmaker of the Year in 2015.
There are two Pennsylvania state parks and a Natural Area in Berks County.
- Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center is south of Reading on land once owned by Jacob Nolde, a prominent Reading businessman and Pennsylvania environmentalist.
- French Creek State Park, a former Recreational Demonstration Area, straddles the Berks and Chester County line.
- Ruth Zimmerman Natural Area, part of the William Penn Forest District in Oley.
There are two Pennsylvania Historic Sites in Berks County.
The Old Morlatton Village in Douglassville is maintained by the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County. The village is composed of four historic structures: White Horse Inn, George Douglass Mansion, Bridge keeper's House, and the Mouns Jones House, constructed in 1716, which is the oldest recorded building in the county. 
- Reading (county seat)
- Adamstown (mostly in Lancaster County)
- Mount Penn
- New Morgan
- St. Lawrence
- Sinking Spring
- West Reading
- Lower Alsace
- Lower Heidelberg
- North Heidelberg
- South Heidelberg
- Upper Bern
- Upper Tulpehocken
Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.
- Alsace Manor
- Amity Gardens
- Colony Park
- Flying Hills
- Fox Chase
- Hyde Park
- Kutztown University
- Lincoln Park
- Montrose Manor
- Mount Aetna
- Muhlenberg Park
- New Berlinville
- New Jerusalem
- New Schaefferstown
- Riverview Park
- South Temple
- Spring Ridge
- Stony Creek Mills
- West Hamburg
- West Lawn
- West Wyomissing
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Berks County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|48||Stony Creek Mills||CDP||1,045|
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Berks County, Pennsylvania Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.