Education
Bachelor's Degree or Higher, by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17


Bachelor's Degree or Higher, by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17

What does this measure?

The number of residents with a particular level of education in a region, expressed as a percentage of all residents 25 and older, broken down by race and ethnicity.

Why is this important?

An educated population makes a more attractive workforce. Well-educated workers likely have access to more economic opportunities than workers with less education. High educational attainment represents a region's investment in human capital and preparation for long-term growth. Large disparities between education levels by race can signal disparities in access to opportunities by race.

How is our county performing?

In 2013-17, the share of Berks County residents who held a bachelor's degree or higher was highest among Asian Americans, at 40%, followed by whites, 25%, African Americans, 16%, and Hispanics, 9%. At the state level, a higher share of Asian American (55%), white (31%) , African American (18%) and Hispanic residents (15%) had college degrees than in Berks. The share of Asian Americans (53%), African Americans (21%) and Whites (32%) with a Bachelor's degree in the United States was higher than Pennsylvania and Berks County except for Hispanics (15%) who matched the state. In the City of Reading, a smaller share of residents of all races had college degrees than in the county as a whole (14% of Asian Americans, 10% of whites, 9% of African Americans, and 6% of Hispanics).

Since 2000, the share of residents without a high school degree declined among all racial and ethnic groups in Berks County, ranging from an 8 percentage-point drop among whites to about 16 points among Hispanics. All groups had increases in their share of residents who had attended some college or earned a college degree, except Asian Americans, who had no change among people with at least a bachelor's. Asian Americans had the highest share of those receiving a bachelor's degree or higher in 2000 and 2013-2017 at 40%.

Among neighboring counties in 2013-17, while racial and ethnic disparities persisted, Chester and Montgomery counties had larger shares of all groups with at least a bachelor's degree. Chester had higher percentages of Asian Americans (80%) and whites (51%) with college degrees. Montgomery had higher percentages of African Americans (32%) and Hispanics (29%) with college degrees. Reading had a smaller share of residents with college degrees than Berks for all racial groups. Lancaster had similar education levels to Berks.

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.

Adults are people 25 and older. The multi-year 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.

Bachelor's Degree or Higher, by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States19%33%24%29%
Pennsylvania13%30%23%24%
Berks County17%**33%22%24%
Berks County Regions
Central27%****29%20%23%
Northeast4%******45%******36%****24%
South16%****35%**32%25%
Southeast2%******46%******29%****25%
West20%******42%****26%**24%
Reading city27%****29%20%21%
Berks County Peers
Chester County8%26%15%20%
Lancaster County14%28%25%22%
Lebanon County21%****35%**26%23%
Lehigh County15%31%27%26%
Montgomery County13%30%20%22%
Schuylkill County16%****23%23%25%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Adults are people 25 and older. 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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Adults with Bachelor's Degree or Higher, by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States2,257,9548,458,6017,627,65148,099,972
Pennsylvania35,609262,321103,6301,786,474
Berks County643**3,8999,05358,735
Berks County Regions
Central187****2,1296,41710,930
Northeast6******242******406****10,179
South336****964**1,48917,547
Southeast9******292******199****9,445
West105******272****542**10,667
Reading city92****1,8265,6576,049
Berks County Peers
Chester County1,2634,7832,81461,883
Lancaster County1,0193,5137,03669,960
Lebanon County242****583**2,09819,481
Lehigh County1,2304,32911,57953,469
Montgomery County5,15614,2684,332101,922
Schuylkill County86****73967725,160

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Adults are people 25 and older. 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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Bachelor's Degree or Higher, by Race/Ethnicity, 2000
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States21%28%20%28%
Pennsylvania14%25%18%21%
Berks County12%25%15%20%
Berks County Regions
Central11%24%14%18%
Northeast13%13%24%19%
South14%41%25%23%
Southeast9%26%17%21%
West7%13%12%19%
Reading city11%24%13%16%
Berks County Peers
Chester County12%21%14%21%
Lancaster County16%20%17%18%
Lebanon County18%25%21%16%
Lehigh County15%29%19%23%
Montgomery County15%27%21%22%
Schuylkill County12%26%21%18%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Adults are people 25 and older. 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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Adults with Bachelor's Degree or Higher, by Race/Ethnicity, 2000
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States1,363,9885,609,3493,630,03340,079,327
Pennsylvania18,414175,65934,1181,543,822
Berks County2681,8702,39146,071
Berks County Regions
Central971,2541,8939,380
Northeast2212847,246
South11142727214,490
Southeast1977296,701
West995977,619
Reading city911,1811,7675,198
Berks County Peers
Chester County6543,1651,09355,144
Lancaster County5871,3042,03750,941
Lebanon County12418057612,856
Lehigh County6841,5062,79944,235
Montgomery County2,8049,4211,781101,885
Schuylkill County4457319718,842

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Adults are people 25 and older. 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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




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 Maintaining
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Maintaining
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 Increasing
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 Increasing
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