Familypedia
Advertisement
This article is based on the corresponding article in another wiki. For Familypedia purposes, it requires significantly more historical detail on phases of this location's development. The ideal article for a place will give the reader a feel for what it was like to live at that location at the time their relatives were alive there. Also desirable are links to organizations that may be repositories of genealogical information..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can.


Berks County, Pennsylvania
Reading, Pennsylvani skyline.jpg
Reading skyline
Seal of Berks County, Pennsylvania
Seal
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 11, 1752
Seat Reading
Largest city Reading
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

866 sq mi (2,243 km²)
859 sq mi (2,225 km²)
7 sq mi (18 km²), 0.78%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

428,849
479/sq mi (184.9/km²)
Website www.co.berks.pa.us

Berks County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 428,849. The county seat is Reading.[1] Berks County is part of the Reading, PA, metropolitan statistical area and as of 2020, is also considered part of the Philadelphia combined statistical area.

History[]

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 William Penn's family home of Reading, Berkshire, England. 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.

Law and government[]

File:BCCCP.JPG

Berks County Courthouse

County Commissioners[]

  • Mark C. Scott, Chairman, Republican
  • Kevin Barnhardt, Democrat
  • Christian Leinbach, 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

Pennsylvania State Senate[]

  • Judy Schwank, Democrat, Pennsylvania Senate, District 11
  • Dave Argall, Republican, Pennsylvania Senate, District 29
  • John C. Rafferty Jr., Republican, Pennsylvania Senate, District 44
  • Mike Folmer, Republican, Pennsylvania Senate, District 48

Pennsylvania House of Representatives[]

  • Jerry Knowles, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 124
  • Mike Tobash, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 125
  • Dante Santoni Jr., Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 126
  • Thomas R. Caltagirone, Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 127
  • Mark Gillen, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 128
  • Jim Cox, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 129
  • David Maloney, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 130
  • Doug Reichley, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 134
  • Gary Day, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 187

United States House of Representatives[]

  • Jim Gerlach, Republican, Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district
  • Charlie Dent, Republican, Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district (Hereford 2 only)
  • Joseph Pitts, Republican, Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district
  • Tim Holden, Democrat, Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district

United States Senate[]

  • Pat Toomey, Republican
  • Bob Casey, Jr., Democrat

Geography[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 866 square miles (2,242.9 km2). 859 square miles (2,224.8 km2) is land and 7 square miles (18.1 km2) (0.78%) 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.

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 30,189
1800 32,407 7.3%
1810 43,146 33.1%
1820 46,275 7.3%
1830 53,152 14.9%
1840 64,569 21.5%
1850 77,129 19.5%
1860 93,818 21.6%
1870 106,701 13.7%
1880 122,597 14.9%
1890 137,327 12.0%
1900 159,615 16.2%
1910 183,222 14.8%
1920 200,854 9.6%
1930 231,717 15.4%
1940 241,884 4.4%
1950 255,740 5.7%
1960 275,414 7.7%
1970 296,382 7.6%
1980 312,509 5.4%
1990 336,523 7.7%
2000 373,638 11.0%
2010 411,442 10.1%
[2][3]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 373,638 people, 141,570 households, and 98,532 families residing in the county. The population density was 435 people per square mile (168/km²). There were 150,222 housing units at an average density of 175 per square mile (68/km²). The racial makeup of the county in 2004 was 82.5% White, 4.6% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 6.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race made up 11.8%. 35.1% were of German, 8.6% Italian, 7.1% Irish, and 5.4% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. 87.6% spoke English, 8.1% Spanish and 1.0% Pennsylvania Dutch as their first language. Historically there was a large Pennsylvania Dutch (from Pennsylvania Deutsch or German) population. It is known as part of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Berks County also has large and growing Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Mexican communities.

According to Muninetguide the median household income for Berks County, as of 2010, is $54,105

There were 141,570 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.50% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.40% were non-families. 24.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

Politics[]

As of November 1, 2021, there are 264,187 registered voters in Berks County.[5]

  • Democratic: 113,122 (42.82%)
  • Republican: 108,134 (40.93%)
  • Independent: 30,733 (11.63%)
  • Third Party: 12,198 (4.62%)
United States presidential election results for Berks County, Pennsylvania[6]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 109,926 53.22% 93,116 45.08% 3,511 1.70%
2016 96,626 52.49% 78,437 42.61% 9,022 4.90%
2012 84,702 49.63% 83,011 48.64% 2,963 1.74%
2008 80,513 44.60% 97,047 53.76% 2,951 1.63%
2004 87,122 52.97% 76,309 46.39% 1,056 0.64%
2000 71,273 52.68% 59,150 43.72% 4,874 3.60%
1996 56,289 46.25% 49,887 40.99% 15,542 12.77%
1992 52,939 40.29% 46,031 35.03% 32,437 24.68%
1988 70,153 62.39% 41,040 36.50% 1,251 1.11%
1984 74,605 65.94% 37,849 33.45% 691 0.61%
1980 60,576 56.41% 36,449 33.94% 10,360 9.65%
1976 54,452 50.63% 50,994 47.41% 2,107 1.96%
1972 66,172 62.35% 36,563 34.45% 3,392 3.20%
1968 50,623 46.48% 49,877 45.79% 8,424 7.73%
1964 36,726 33.19% 73,444 66.38% 476 0.43%
1960 61,743 54.78% 50,572 44.87% 391 0.35%
1956 57,258 57.30% 42,349 42.38% 320 0.32%
1952 51,720 52.42% 45,874 46.49% 1,074 1.09%
1948 35,608 43.57% 43,075 52.71% 3,043 3.72%
1944 35,274 43.33% 43,889 53.91% 2,247 2.76%
1940 32,111 36.93% 53,301 61.31% 1,530 1.76%
1936 26,699 30.23% 56,907 64.43% 4,721 5.34%
1932 27,073 37.07% 29,763 40.76% 16,187 22.17%
1928 47,073 64.03% 18,960 25.79% 7,481 10.18%
1924 28,186 51.35% 17,220 31.37% 9,487 17.28%
1920 22,221 47.69% 18,361 39.41% 6,009 12.90%
1916 11,937 34.33% 19,267 55.41% 3,565 10.25%
1912 3,032 8.77% 16,430 47.54% 15,098 43.69%
1908 13,642 41.01% 17,381 52.25% 2,245 6.75%
1904 15,539 46.28% 16,357 48.71% 1,683 5.01%
1900 13,952 41.53% 19,013 56.60% 628 1.87%
1896 14,318 43.28% 18,099 54.71% 665 2.01%
1892 10,077 34.76% 18,602 64.16% 312 1.08%
1888 10,626 36.65% 18,105 62.45% 261 0.90%
1884 9,587 36.46% 16,484 62.68% 226 0.86%
1880 9,225 34.99% 16,959 64.32% 181 0.69%



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.[7] 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%, however, in 2016, Donald Trump carried Berks by a much larger margin of 52.9% to 42.7%.[8]

Municipalities[]

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

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

Cities[]

Boroughs[]

  • Adamstown (part of Adamstown is in Lancaster County)
  • Bally
  • Bechtelsville
  • Bernville
  • Birdsboro
  • Boyertown
  • Centerport
  • Fleetwood
  • Hamburg
  • Kenhorst
  • Kutztown
  • Laureldale
  • Leesport
  • Lenhartsville
  • Lyons
  • Mohnton
  • Mount Penn
  • New Morgan
  • Robesonia
  • St. Lawrence
  • Shillington
  • Shoemakersville
  • Sinking Spring
  • Strausstown
  • Topton
  • Wernersville
  • West Reading
  • Womelsdorf
  • Wyomissing

Townships[]

A farm in Windsor Township

  • Albany Township
  • Alsace Township
  • Amity Township
  • Bern Township
  • Bethel Township
  • Brecknock Township
  • Caernarvon Township
  • Centre Township
  • Colebrookdale Township
  • Cumru Township
  • District Township
  • Douglass Township
  • Earl Township
  • Exeter Township
  • Greenwich Township
  • Heidelberg Township
  • Hereford Township
  • Jefferson Township
  • Longswamp Township
  • Lower Alsace Township
  • Lower Heidelberg Township
  • Maidencreek Township
  • Marion Township
  • Maxatawny Township
  • Muhlenberg Township
  • North Heidelberg Township
  • Oley Township
  • Ontelaunee Township
  • Penn Township
  • Perry Township
  • Pike Township
  • Richmond Township
  • Robeson Township
  • Rockland Township
  • Ruscombmanor Township
  • South Heidelberg Township
  • Spring Township
  • Tilden Township
  • Tulpehocken Township
  • Union Township
  • Upper Bern Township
  • Upper Tulpehocken Township
  • Washington Township
  • Windsor Township

Unincorporated or Census-designated places[]

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.

  • Amity Gardens
  • Flying Hills
  • Lorane
  • Plowville
  • Reiffton
  • Spring Ridge
  • Stouchsburg
  • West Lawn
  • West Wyomissing
  • Whitfield

Education[]

Colleges and universities[]

  • Albright College
  • Alvernia University
  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • Penn State Berks
  • Reading Area Community College

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Public school districts[]

  • Antietam School District
  • Boyertown Area School District
  • Brandywine Heights Area School District
  • Conrad Weiser Area School District
  • Daniel Boone Area School District
  • Exeter Township School District
  • Fleetwood Area School District
  • Governor Mifflin School District
  • Hamburg Area School District
  • Kutztown Area School District
  • Muhlenberg School District
  • Oley Valley School District
  • Reading School District
  • Schuylkill Valley School District
  • Tulpehocken Area School District
  • Twin Valley School District
  • Upper Perkiomen School District
  • Wilson School District
  • Wyomissing Area School District

Private high schools[]

  • Berks Christian School [2]
  • Blue Mountain Academy
  • Fairview Christian School
  • Kings Academy
  • Berks Catholic High School

Technical or trade schools[]

  • Berks Technical Institute
  • Pace Institute
  • Reading Hospital School of Nursing

Notable people[]

  • Gus Yatron, Former United States Congressman from Pennsylvania
  • William Addams, United States Congressman from Pennsylvania[9]
  • Daniel Boone, American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman (b. 1734 - d. 1820)
  • Bodo Otto, Senior Surgeon of the Continental Army during the American Revolution (b. 1711 - d. 1787)
  • Priscilla Ahn, folk musician and singer-songwriter.
  • Chad Billingsley, pitcher for the LA Dodgers
  • Steve Burns, musician and former Blue's Clues host
  • Bob Cesca, animator, political author and columnist/blogger for The Huffington Post
  • Jack Coggins, illustrator, author and artist, lived in Boyertown from 1948–2006
  • Rocky Colavito, former Major League Baseball player
  • Kerry Collins, professional football player (Panthers, Saints, Giants, Raiders, and Titans)
  • Michael Constantine, actor, star of Room 222 and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
  • John Henry Gilmore, Jr., professional football player (Saints, Bears, and Buccaneers)
  • Kate Gosselin, Gosselin Family, Reality TV stars of Jon & Kate Plus 8
  • Chad Henne, professional football player (Miami Dolphins) and Graduate of the University of Michigan (4 Year Starter at Quarterback)
  • Chris Hero, professional wrestler
  • Joseph Hiester, governor of Pennsylvania 1820-1823
  • Tommy Hinnershitz 1912-1999. Auto racing pioneer. Member Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
  • Chad Hurley, Co-Founder of YouTube (attended Twin Valley)
  • Kelly McGillis, actress, [Top Gun]
  • Jillian Murray, model/actress (b. June 4, 1989)
  • Jacob Nolde, conservationist
  • Wallace Stevens, major American Modernist poet, October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955.
  • Taylor Swift, Grammy Award winning country singer
  • Nicole Tranquillo, semi-finalist on American Idol.
  • Ross Tucker, professional football player
  • John Updike, American writer, 1932-2009.
  • Carl Furillo, Brooklyn-Los Angeles Dodgers right-fielder.

Recreation[]

The Reading Public Museum is an art, science, and history museum.

There are two Pennsylvania state parks 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.

There are two Pennsylvania Historic Sites in Berks County.

  • Conrad Weiser Homestead near Womelsdorf.
  • Daniel Boone Homestead near Birdsboro.

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. [3]

See also[]

  • List of municipal authorities in Berks County, Pennsylvania
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Berks County, Pennsylvania

References[]

External links[]

Commons-logo.png
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Coordinates: 40°25′N 75°56′W / 40.42, -75.93


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Berks County, Pennsylvania. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
Advertisement