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Berks County, Pennsylvania

Berks County, Pennsylvania
The Reading area from the Pagoda
Seal of Berks County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 11, 1752
Seat Reading
Largest city Reading
 • Total 866 sq mi (2,243 km2)
 • Land 857 sq mi (2,220 km2)
 • Water 9.2 sq mi (24 km2), 1.1%
Population (est.)
 • (2013) 413,521
 • Density 480/sq mi (185/km²)
Congressional districts 6th, 7th, 15th, 16th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Designated May 12, 1982[1]

Berks County (Pennsylvania German: Barricks Kaundi) is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 411,442.[2] The county seat is Reading.[3]

Berks County comprises the Reading, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which is also included in the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area. (CSA).


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Major highways 2.1
    • Adjacent counties 2.2
    • National protected area 2.3
    • State protected area 2.4
  • Demographics 3
  • Metropolitan and Combined Statistical Area 4
  • Government 5
    • County Commissioners 5.1
    • Other county offices 5.2
    • State Senate 5.3
    • State House of Representatives 5.4
    • United States House of Representatives 5.5
    • United States Senate 5.6
  • Politics 6
  • Education 7
    • Colleges and universities 7.1
    • Public school districts 7.2
    • Private high schools 7.3
    • Technical and trade schools 7.4
  • Arts and culture 8
  • Communities 9
    • City 9.1
    • Boroughs 9.2
    • Townships 9.3
    • Census-designated places 9.4
    • Unincorporated communities 9.5
  • Notable people 10
  • See also 11
  • Footnotes 12
  • Further reading 13
  • External links 14


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.


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.[4] 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.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected area

State protected area


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[10] 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.[11] 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 Berks County is classified as a Monied 'Burb. These counties overall are wealthy, highly educated, and have a median household income over $15,000.00 above the national county average.[12]

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

Location of Berks County (Reading, PA) in the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA

The United States Office of Management and Budget[13] has designated Berks County as the Reading, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census[14] 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 ranked 3rd in the State of Pennsylvania and 8th most populous in the United States with a population of 7,067,807.


County Commissioners

Berks County Courthouse
  • Christian Leinbach, Chair Republican
  • Kevin Barnhardt, Vice Chair Democrat
  • Mark C. Scott, Republican

Other county offices

  • Clerk of Courts, James P. Troutman, Republican
  • Controller, Sandy Graffius, Republican
  • Coroner, Dennis J. Hess, Democrat
  • District Attorney, John T. Adams, Democrat
  • Prothonotary, Marianne Sutton, Republican
  • Recorder of Deeds, Frederick Sheeler, Democrat
  • Register of Wills, Larry J. Medaglia Jr., Republican
  • Sheriff, Eric Weaknecht, Republican
  • Treasurer, Nelson H. Long, Republican

State Senate

State House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives

United States Senate


As of January 2010, there are 248,949 registered voters in Berks County.[15]

The first time since 1964 that a Democrat carried Berks in a Presidential election occurred in November 2008, with Barack Obama receiving 53.9% of the vote to John McCain's 44.7%. The other three statewide winners (Rob McCord for Treasurer, Jack Wagner for Auditor General, and Tom Corbett for Attorney General) also carried it.[16] While Republicans have controlled the commissioner majority most of the time and continue to control most county row offices, Democrats have become more competitive in Berks in recent years. In the 2012 Presidential election, Mitt Romney carried the county by approximately a one-percent margin, 49.6% to 48.6%.


Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Colleges and universities

Public school districts

Private high schools

Technical and trade schools

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.

There are two Pennsylvania state parks in Berks County.

There are two Pennsylvania Historic Sites in Berks County.

The Old Morlatton Village in Douglassville is maintained by the

  • County of Berks, Pennsylvania

External links

  • F.W. Balthaser, The Story of Berks County, Pennsylvania. Reading, PA: Reading Eagle Press, 1925.
  • D.B. Brunner, The Indians of Berks County, Pa., Being a Summary of all the Tangible Records of the Aborigines of Berks County, with Cuts and Descriptions of the Varieties of Relics Found within the County. Reading, PA: Eagle Book Print, 1897.
  • Morton L. Montgomery, History of Berks County in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Everts, Peck & Richards, 1886.
  • Morton L. Montgomery, History of Berks County, Pennsylvania, in the Revolution, from 1774 to 1783. Reading, PA: C.F. Haage, printer, 1894.
  • Morton L. Montgomery, Political Hand-Book of Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1752-1883. Reading, PA: B.F. Owen, 1883.
  • Morton L. Montgomery, School history of Berks County in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: J.B. Rodgers Printing Co., 1889.
  • Kathy M. Scogna, "The Birth of a County — 1752,". Historical Review of Berks County, Winter 2001-02.

Further reading

  1. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ [7]
  12. ^ [8]
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 
  18. ^ 
  19. ^ "Tolleson, Arizona". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 


See also

Notable people

Unincorporated communities

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.

Census-designated places

A farm in Windsor Township




Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Berks County:

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).
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