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 18% of its residents enrolled in Medicaid managed care, again on par 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 2017 as the state entered its third year of expanded Medicaid eligibility, with Berks’ increase above most nearby counties’ 2 to 4 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, 18% 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, almost 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. 

The majority (69%) of Berks and Schuylkill counties residents were overweight or obese, an increase of 3 percentage points since 2011-13. This increase was driven by an increase in the share of obese residents, even as the share of overweight residents declined. Berks and Schuylkill counties had a larger percentage of obese residents (34%) than either the state or the nation.

The share of overweight and obese children in Berks was smaller, but had increased at a faster rate with 34% of K-6th and 38% of 7-12th graders being overweight or obese, a 4 and 6 percentage point increase respectively,  since 2009.





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 Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Decreasing
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 Decreasing
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