Economy
Public Assistance Per Resident


Public Assistance Per Resident

What does this measure?

Income to individuals from governmental programs (welfare/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, unemployment and food stamps), expressed on a per capita basis.

Why is this important?

Per capita income from governmental programs is one measure of a region's overall poverty. It takes into account not just the relative frequency of poor individuals, but also the average level of poverty experienced.

How is our county doing?

In 2019, Berks County received $3,200 in public assistance income per resident. This was less than Pennsylvania as a whole, at $3,500, but more than the nation, at $2,700. Berks received more public assistance per resident in 2019 than any neighboring county except Lehigh, which was similar, at $3,300.

Between 2001 and 2019, public assistance per resident in Berks County increased 93% (after inflation), compared to 79% statewide and 55% nationally. The increase in Berks County was less than in neighboring Chester (103%) and Montgomery counties (96%), but more than Lancaster (88%) Lebanon (78%), Lehigh (74%) and Schuylkill (83%) counties.

Notes about the data

Figures are in constant 2019 dollars. This data is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Eligibility requirements for many public assistance programs vary from state to state. Families are eligible for temporary assistance benefits for up to 60 months, although most receive assistance for shorter periods.

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

Public Assistance Per Resident
2001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
United States$1,765$1,895$1,972$2,076$2,131$2,047$2,118$2,139$2,388$2,533$2,495$2,480$2,517$2,626$2,763$2,785$2,740$2,688$2,728
Pennsylvania$1,944$2,025$2,129$2,285$2,455$2,282$2,344$2,343$2,557$2,796$2,807$2,779$2,822$2,927$3,098$3,398$3,194$3,496$3,487
Berks County$1,668$1,762$1,825$2,008$2,233$2,187$2,049$2,089$2,332$2,566$2,604$2,621$2,664$2,724$2,900$3,166$2,970$3,221$3,215
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County$853$888$941$1,025$1,132$1,076$1,123$1,092$1,254$1,430$1,440$1,411$1,419$1,493$1,569$1,692$1,577$1,741$1,731
Lancaster County$1,281$1,385$1,446$1,592$1,763$1,641$1,615$1,656$1,846$2,068$2,076$2,059$2,104$2,149$2,238$2,372$2,215$2,408$2,408
Lebanon County$1,549$1,663$1,661$1,881$2,032$1,827$1,768$1,836$2,017$2,200$2,215$2,189$2,283$2,312$2,455$2,707$2,525$2,743$2,751
Lehigh County$1,873$1,997$2,050$2,173$2,399$2,201$2,254$2,266$2,404$2,614$2,576$2,563$2,610$2,719$2,895$3,199$2,989$3,265$3,268
Montgomery County$1,140$1,199$1,283$1,401$1,471$1,340$1,415$1,411$1,600$1,793$1,776$1,772$1,770$1,925$2,055$2,182$2,028$2,251$2,239
Schuylkill County$1,714$1,821$1,902$2,117$2,213$2,070$2,106$2,139$2,261$2,391$2,475$2,392$2,406$2,623$2,768$3,005$2,858$3,139$3,142

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Notes: Figures are in constant 2019 dollars.




Public Assistance
2001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
United States503,071,191,022545,035,428,310571,978,349,332607,988,617,083629,774,955,238610,726,021,548638,041,412,420650,391,607,488732,493,644,933782,005,164,210777,329,621,217778,401,259,959795,436,473,311835,919,857,892885,795,517,976899,478,419,250890,490,920,255878,105,899,262895,274,000,000
Pennsylvania23,907,601,95324,974,421,77726,343,825,42628,360,843,04930,562,673,80528,547,757,56129,450,381,37129,552,857,00332,386,520,12735,521,332,21635,773,635,89835,473,871,35636,057,585,32037,429,966,24339,609,736,33343,431,854,63340,849,884,44644,756,244,55444,641,511,000
Berks County629,723,178671,763,992704,090,494784,708,642884,219,777878,833,619830,472,805851,714,237955,724,1511,055,893,5651,075,351,9501,083,916,0181,102,554,7651,129,183,0681,203,832,6661,316,482,2371,239,987,5561,354,694,8881,354,165,000
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County376,331,146397,760,511428,219,917474,682,913532,487,845515,418,969545,980,380536,444,745622,241,661713,829,104724,961,415714,081,133722,377,506765,544,420808,360,733874,132,897818,052,337908,852,098908,655,000
Lancaster County608,986,234665,189,955701,292,161780,227,540872,112,396821,911,892818,452,085847,908,527953,361,0731,074,379,3851,087,881,4041,085,028,4231,115,190,7221,145,785,8271,199,138,4071,276,663,7561,198,917,8531,309,649,1981,314,330,000
Lebanon County187,352,841202,388,256204,618,692234,439,770256,425,411234,375,077230,154,431241,525,409268,162,370293,883,148297,957,545296,758,055310,067,120315,733,198337,561,686374,928,164352,396,140387,627,720390,048,000
Lehigh County589,811,237633,480,813659,279,657708,654,407794,933,566741,385,010768,403,770781,337,702834,602,958914,075,543910,478,934909,405,513927,497,262972,443,9101,041,236,7691,158,895,5981,092,528,9961,202,754,7671,206,986,000
Montgomery County866,076,703918,627,187991,119,6641,087,905,1221,146,292,4201,047,382,0901,111,105,8741,113,630,1741,273,156,0581,434,103,0971,429,822,7401,433,298,9231,438,262,5401,570,522,2821,679,409,0281,788,876,7901,671,805,0791,861,426,3311,860,652,000
Schuylkill County255,727,735270,842,941281,085,145311,326,346325,227,645306,413,031312,548,580317,550,543335,480,919354,596,644365,115,825351,928,406352,841,054381,398,006398,921,437431,158,281407,561,814445,103,635444,140,000

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Notes: Figures are in constant 2016 dollars.




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Maintaining
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households by type Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Seniors Living Alone Maintaining
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Decreasing
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Decreasing
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 Not Applicable
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Maintaining
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Receiving Supplemental Security Income Increasing
Health Status Not Applicable
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Cost of Homeownership Maintaining
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Toxic Chemical Releases Decreasing
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing