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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 a village within Upper Tulpehocken Township.
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.
Berks County is home to an Old Order Mennonite community consisting of about 160 families, located in the East Penn Valley near Kutztown and Fleetwood. The Old Order Mennonites first bought land in the area in 1949. In 2012, Old Order Mennonites bought two large farms in the Oley Valley. The Old Order Mennonites in the area belong to the Groffdale Conference Mennonite Church and use the horse and buggy as transportation. There are several farms in the area belonging to the Old Order Mennonite community and meetinghouses are located near Kutztown and Fleetwood.
Metropolitan and Combined Statistical Area
Location of Berks County (Reading, PA) in the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA
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. 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%.
While Reading itself is heavily Democratic, the rural areas are strongly Republican.
Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts
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.
West Reading in home to the annual Art on the Avenue, which reached its 25th year in 2019.
Berks County is home to several media sources including:
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.
^The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682-1809, 18 vols. (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Wm. Stanley Ray, 1898), vol. 5 1744-1759, pages 133-140, 502-503, Chapter CCCXCII, "An Act for Erecting Part of the Counties Of Philadelphia, Chester and Lancaster into a Separate County," March 11, 1752, confirmed by the King in Council, May 10, 1753, creation of Berks County, digital images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org : July 26, 2018).
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.