Health






Critical factors in human health include access to health care and lifestyle indicators such as exercise. In Berks County, most residents have health insurance but many are overweight or obese and a significant share do not regularly engage in physical activity.

Just 8% of Berks County residents under 65 lacked health insurance, similar with the state, and slightly better than the national rate of 10%. Reaching a low uninsured rate and ensuring that residents have access to medical care and are able to maintain financial stability is possible in part through government and state assistance to those who cannot afford healthcare. Berks County had 19% of its residents enrolled in Medicaid managed care in 2018, similar with the state. Both the state and county have experienced a 5 percentage point increase since 2015 in the proportion of their residents that are enrolled in these services. The percentage of Medicaid managed care enrollees rose in all neighboring counties from 2015 to 2018 as the state entered its fourth year of expanded Medicaid eligibility, with Berks’ increase above most nearby counties’ 3 to 6 percentage point increases.

Residents’ current health level is as important as their access to healthcare. Berks and Schuylkill counties residents display health levels similar to the state and nation. In Berks and Schuylkill counties, 21% of residents report being in fair or poor health, indicating that the majority of residents perceived their overall health as good, very good, or even excellent. Despite this, a quarter of Berks and Schuylkill counties residents had not engaged in leisure-time physical activity in the past 30 days, raising concerns as to their future health status and potential higher healthcare costs in 2016-18. 

The majority (73%) of Berks and Schuylkill counties residents were overweight or obese, an increase of 7 percentage points since 2011-13.  Berks and Schuylkill counties had a larger percentage of overweight and obese residents than either the state or the nation (both 66%).

The share of overweight and obese children in Berks was smaller, but had increased at a faster rate with 33% of K-6th and 44% of 7-12th graders being overweight or obese, a 3 and 12 percentage point increase respectively,  since 2009.





INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY
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 Decreasing
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
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch 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
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
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