Children & Youth
Single-Parent Families


Single-Parent Families

What does this measure?

The proportion of single-parent families with children under 18, as a percentage of all families with children under 18.

Why is this important?

Single-parent families may experience more stress and economic strain than dual-parent households with two incomes. Children in these families can be at risk of poorer health and educational outcomes. However, children may also have opportunities to build resilience and experience a larger community through the support of extended family and friends.

How is our county performing?

In 2013-17, single parents headed 36% of families in Berks County with children under 18, slightly higher than Pennsylvania and the nation. The percentage in Berks County rose 10 percentage points since 2000, a larger increase than at the state and national levels, which rose 5-6 percentage points. Within the county, the percentage of single-parent families in 2013-17 was highest by far in the Central region, at 56%, while other regions ranged from 23% to 29%.

In the City of Reading, single parents headed 62% of families with children in 2013-17, up from 52% in 2000.

In 2013-17, the percentage of single-parent families in Berks County was higher than in Chester (21%), Montgomery (24%), and Lancaster (27%) counties. Berks was similar to Lebanon (35%), Lehigh (38%) and Schuylkill (34%). Since 2000, Lebanon and Lehigh had a percentage increase similar to Berks, while other counties typically had smaller increases.

Notes about the data

For additional detail as to how the Berks County regions are defined and which boroughs and townships are included in each, see the About Us page.

The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Single-Parent Families
20002008-122013-17
United States29%34%34%
Pennsylvania28%34%34%
Berks County26%36%36%
Berks County Regions
Central46%58%56%
Northeast15%26%23%
South20%27%29%
Southeast15%20%23%
West17%25%28%
Reading city52%63%62%
Berks County Peers
Chester County17%19%21%
Lancaster County22%25%27%
Lebanon County25%31%35%
Lehigh County27%34%38%
Montgomery County18%23%24%
Schuylkill County26%34%34%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




Number of Single-Parent Families
20002008-122013-17
United States11,101,75512,926,40512,798,816
Pennsylvania440,548492,027480,627
Berks County12,46318,21517,495
Berks County Regions
Central6,7069,6698,770
Northeast1,0771,8521,415
South2,3473,6853,872
Southeast9981,2891,494
West1,2491,7201,950
Reading city5,8748,2027,418
Berks County Peers
Chester County10,05712,25513,212
Lancaster County13,37415,52516,077
Lebanon County3,7135,0215,594
Lehigh County10,71715,28616,485
Montgomery County18,11022,77023,350
Schuylkill County4,5355,7185,346

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY
Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Maintaining
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Decreasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population ratio Increasing
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 Increasing
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Quality Early Childhood Centers Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 English Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 English Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Maintaining
Living Wage Maintaining
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Increasing
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Decreasing
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing