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Berks County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvaniamarker. As of the 2000 census, the population was 373,638. The population in 2006 was estimated at 401,149 by the US Census Bureau. Its county seat is Readingmarker. Berks County is part of the Reading, PAmarker metropolitan statistical area and as of 2005, is also considered part of the Philadelphia combined statistical area.

History

Reading developed during the 1740s when the inhabitants of northern Lancaster Countymarker sent several petitions requesting that a separate county be established. With the help of German immigrant Conrad Weiser, the county was formed on March 11, 1752 from parts of Chester Countymarker, Lancaster County, and Philadelphia Countymarker.

It was named after William Penn's family home of Reading, Berkshiremarker, Englandmarker. Berks County began much larger than it is today. The northwestern parts of the county went to the founding of Northumberland Countymarker in 1772 and Schuylkill Countymarker in 1811, when it reached its current size. In 2005, Berks County was added to the Delaware Valley Planning Area due to a fast-growing population and close proximity to the other communities.

Law and government

County Commissioners

  • Mark C. Scott, Chairman, Republican
  • Kevin Barnhardt, Democrat
  • Christian Leinbach, Republican


Other county offices

  • Clerk of Courts, James P. Troutman, Republican
  • Controller, Sandy Graffius, Republican
  • Coroner, Dennis J. Hess, Democrat
  • District Attorney, John T. Adams, Democrat
  • Prothonotary, Marianne Sutton, Republican
  • Recorder of Deeds, Frederick Sheeler, Democrat
  • Register of Wills, Larry J. Medaglia Jr., Republican
  • Sheriff, Eric Weaknecht, Republican
  • Treasurer, Nelson H. Long, Republican


Pennsylvania State Senate



Pennsylvania House of Representatives



United States House of Representatives



United States Senate



Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 866 square miles (2,242 km²). 859 square miles (2,224 km²) of it is land and 7 square miles (18 km²) of it (0.78%) is water. Most of the county is drained by the Schuylkill River, but an area in the northeast is drained by the Lehigh River via the Little Lehigh Creek and areas are drained by the Susquehanna River via the Swatara Creek in the northwest and the Conestoga River (which starts in Berks County between Morgantown and Elverson) in the extreme south.

Adjacent counties



National protected area



Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 373,638 people, 141,570 households, and 98,532 families residing in the county. The population density was 435 people per square mile (168/km²). There were 150,222 housing units at an average density of 175 per square mile (68/km²). The racial makeup of the county in 2004 was 82.5% White, 4.6% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 6.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race made up 11.8%. 35.1% were of German, 8.6% Italian, 7.1% Irish, and 5.4% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. 87.6% spoke English, 8.1% Spanish and 1.0% Pennsylvania Dutch as their first language. Historically there was a large Pennsylvania Dutch (from Pennsylvania Deutsch or German) population. It is known as part of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Berks County also has large and growing Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Mexican communities.

According to Muninetguide the average income for a Berks County is $72,694

There were 141,570 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.50% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.40% were non-families. 24.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

Politics

As of November 2008, there are 259,201 registered voters in Berks County.



The first time since 1964 that a Democrat carried Berks in a Presidential election occurred in November 2008, with Barack Obama receiving 53.9% of the vote to John McCain's 44.7%. The other three statewide winners (Rob McCord for Treasurer, Jack Wagner for Auditor General, and Tom Corbett for Attorney General) also carried it. While Republicans have controlled the commissioner majority most of the time and continue to control most county row offices, Democrats have become more competitive in Berks in recent years. In November 2006, Democrat David Kessler won the State House election in the traditionally-Republican 130th district of eastern Berks.

Municipalities

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).
Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Berks County:

Cities



Boroughs



Townships

A farm in Windsor Township


Unincorporated or Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.


Education

Colleges and universities



300 px


Public school districts



Private high schools



Technical or trade schools



Notable residents



Recreation

The Reading Public Museummarker is an art, science, and history museum.

There are two Pennsylvania state parks in Berks County.

The Old Morlatton Village in Douglassville is maintained by the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County. The village is composed of four historic structures: White Horse Inn, George Douglass Mansion, Bridge keeper's House, and the Mouns Jones House, constructed in 1716, which is the oldest recorded building in the county.[13843]

See also



References



External links




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